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2 major arts festivals in Toronto are becoming roommates. It’s about creativity and cost-savings

Toronto’s two major arts festivals are becoming roommates.

The Luminato Festival is moving into the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Lightbox downtown — a move both CEOs say they hope will spark creativity, as well as cost savings, at a time when arts organizations are struggling.

“Only good and wild things can come out,” Luminato CEO Celia Smith told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning Thursday.

Both festivals lost major sponsorships recently, and Luminato has been on the hunt for a new location after Artscape, the non-profit from which it leased space for more than a decade, went into receivership in 2023. 

Smith said she’d been “stewing” about finding a new home when one morning she spontaneously messaged TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey to ask him about Luminato leasing space from TIFF. 

While Bailey told Metro Morning the idea hadn’t occurred to him before, he said it “was a great one.”

“We want to make sure the place is thriving, and having other creative people in the building … that just seemed to make so much sense,” he said. 

“Everyone is into this,” Smith said. “It’s not a new idea, but it’s an imperative: working together.”

Bailey says cohabitation alone will not future-proof TIFF, but it’s “a great start.”

“There are opportunities to see how we might work together, how we can also help to galvanize some of the other arts organizations and other festivals in the city,” he said.

“We’re all out there looking to make sure that we are stable and can stick around for many, many years to come. And I think it helps to actually be in the same building … taking the elevator up and down together and having those conversations in a really natural way.”

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