Artspace Projects Space Proposed for the City of Mesa

The following blog post is by Mimi Ringness, Communications Intern at the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Mimi is a full-time student at Arizona State University and will graduate in December 2013, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a focus in Performance Studies and Interpersonal Communication. She is very involved in the arts community, performing across the Phoenix metropolitan area in her fourth season with Phoenix-based Terpsicore Dance Company. In addition, Mimi teaches classical and contemporary ballet in Tempe.

Would you like to see affordable space for artists and organizations to live, work, create, rehearse, perform or conduct business in Mesa, Arizona? The City of Mesa and the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) are partnering with the non-profit real estate developer Artspace to explore options for creating new affordable spaces for artists, arts/cultural organizations and arts-friendly businesses in Mesa. This process began in October 2012 when the City of Mesa and the Mesa Arts Center invited Artspace to assess the potential for a multi-use creative facility to be developed in Mesa. Artspace is now in the second step of its feasibility process, with the launch of its Arts Market Survey.

About Artspace

Artspace specializes in creating, owning and operating affordable spaces for artists and creative businesses. They are the nation’s leading developer of arts facilities – live/work housing, artist studios, arts centers and commercial space for arts-friendly businesses and other projects. Established in 1979 with a mission to create, foster and preserve affordable space for artists and arts organizations, Artspace established their first three live/work projects in Saint Paul, MN. Since then, the organization has expanded to include projects across the nation in over 20 states.

Why Take the Survey

The Arts Market Survey assesses the space needs of artists, arts/cultural organizations and creative/arts-friendly businesses in Mesa and the greater Phoenix area, ultimately assisting in the development of affordable new space in which creatives can live, work, create and thrive. Artspace asks these groups of people, especially those who are interested in or affected by art both in Mesa and the greater Phoenix area, to participate in their study. You can do so by clicking here.

Live/Work arts spaces already in Arizona
An Artspace Projects location would contribute to an already existing interest and investment in fostering Arizona’s arts and culture sector, as seen in projects such as the Curley School Artisan Apartments in Ajo, the Central School Project in Bisbee and The Drawing Studio in Tucson. Renovated in 2007, the conversion of the Curley School to artisan live/work apartments for artists began initially with a partnership between the Ajo Western Pima County Community Council and Artspace. After they conducted the initial feasibility studies and gave the project an enthusiastic “thumbs up,” the project was turned over and thus lead by the non-profit, International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA). Central School Project is a cooperatively-run non-profit community arts center located in the heart of the Bisbee, Arizona Historic District. Founded in 1982, the Central School Project provides artist work space and offers an array of arts programming such as art exhibits, poetry readings, plays, concerts, dance performances and more. Likewise, after 15 years in existence, The Drawing Studio undertook an expansion in summer of 2007 to a 10,000 square foot building in the heart of downtown Tucson. The studio opened to the public in January 2008, providing a 24/7 center for art studio practice with an exhibition space, library, lounge and other amenities.

Statewide Impact
The proposed Artspace Project in Mesa could have profound statewide affects for the arts and culture sector. Existing Artspace locations have helped cultivate strong connections within communities, among supporters and between fellow artists. In addition, they create a space where art can be created, nurtured and shared. Jim Kelly, Executive Director at 4Culture, a cultural services agency from located in King County, WA, says, “Artspace Projects transforms neighborhoods, spurs economic development activity, increases public safety and provides community gathering spaces.” Together these projects demonstrate the importance of creating spaces that are specific to the needs of artists and arts organizations or businesses, each of which contribute to the state of Arizona’s economic diversity and growth.

Take the survey here: The survey is available until November 19.

Artspace Projects website:

Follow Artspace Projects at:
Twitter: @ArtspaceMesa

Existing Artist Spaces in Arizona:
Curley School, Ajo
Central School Project, Bisbee:
The Drawing Studio, Tucson:

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