Artist Space Development: Making the Case

Maria Rosario Jackson and Florence Kabwasa-Green

2007, 56 pages. Urban Institute, 2100 M Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20037, 202-833-7200,

The development of affordable spaces for artists to live and/or work is certainly an important matter for artists, but it can also be an important issue for people concerned with a range of social issues, including economic development, civic engagement, community collective action, and community quality of life. This report considers how artist space developments have been positioned and the arguments made to garner support for them, the advocacy strategies used, and the impacts claimed or anticipated.

This report discusses (a) how the developments, which have required the infusion of outside resources, have positioned themselves and the arguments they have made to garner support; (b) the advocacy strategies they have pursued; and (c) the impacts they claim and/or anticipate. This report features 23 of the 30 developments in the study. We focus only on those projects where it was clear that a case for support of the project had to be made to the public sector, foundations, or investors. The material presented here is based primarily on the experiences of projects examined in 2005 but is also informed by previous research on environments of support for artists around the country.