Chattanooga has aggressively tried to position itself as a town full of art and artists and, to a large degree, it has succeeded. Programs such as ArtsMove offered financial incentives to artists to relocate here, and they did. When Chris Thomas first considered opening a space that artists could rent and use as studios and workshops, even he never imagined how quickly Chattanooga Workspace would fill up with renters.
Next week, ArtsBuild will launch an initiative that could provide low-income housing for artists that is also designed to revitalize a community. The actual survey will be conducted online.
ArtsBuild, with help from the Lyndhurst and Benwood foundations, are hoping to partner with Artspace Inc., a Minneapolis-based organization that comes into a community, studies the need and locates potential properties to fix up. On Tuesday, March 25, at 5:30 p.m. at the Church on Main, 1601 Rossville Ave., Roy Close and Emily Taylor from Artspace will be on hand to begin doing surveys designed to discover if there is enough demand for such a project.
The event is open to all. Artists, directors of arts organizations and creative businesses are especially encouraged to attend. The 9th Street Stompers will perform.
In the last 30 years, Artspace has completed more than 1,000 affordable live/work units for artists and their families as well as more than 1 million square feet of space. It has developed 32 properties across the country that are owned and operated by Artspace itself, representing a $500 million investment in America's arts infrastructure.
The survey is actually the second phase, according to Rodney Van Valkenburg, director of grants and initiatives with ArtsBuild, in a process that began in September. The survey will be used not only to decide if we are a good market for such a project but will also help determine the type, design and style of the building.
"The Chattanooga Artspace Survey is an important step for our arts community, and we encourage our arts and creative community to participate," said Dan Bowers, president of ArtsBuild. "Artspace has an amazing track record developing affordable artist housing, studios and office space across the country, and we are excited to partner with them on a local project."
You can learn more at ChattanoogaArtspace.org and on Facebook.
Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6354.