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Studios available at 1120 Creative House! Tour them this week

13 Jul

Spaceworks Tacoma

Spaceworks is seeking artists, creative small businesses and non-profits to rent studio space in 1120 Creative House beginning Aug. 1, 2015.

If you or someone you know is looking for an all-inclusive coworking space in the heart of downtown Tacoma, this could be just the thing! Find out if it’s a good fit by touring the space on Thursday and Friday this week.

logo_sketch_combo The 1120 Creative House, a project of Spaceworks Tacoma, provides long-term affordable studio/office space in downtown Tacoma to artists and creatives so they can work, share and collaborate with others in the community.

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It Takes A Village

7 May

Village Online poster 2Village Online misc 1

It Takes a Village is a photographic meditation and found object installation centering on a particular Value Village store once located on Hosmer Street in South Tacoma. Filmmaker, photographer, editor, and collage artist Isaac Olsen worked there in 2011 and 2012. During that time, he took pictures of the mayhem behind the friendly non-profit façade, wrote letters to management urging for the lowering of book prices, and collected over 4,500 discarded personal photographs and works of art, donated knowingly and unknowingly by the citizens of the City of Destiny. 

It Takes A Village showcases the best of these forgotten memories, ranging from the highest to the lowest of our culture. The exhibit mingles these pieces, with a display of Olsen’s original photographs, in a number of fashions for your viewing pleasure.

Village Online misc 5For a $5 cover charge, see the show on Saturday, May 16 and enjoy light snacks, special guests, and a ‘junk installation’ to fully round out the experience. Or swing by on Sunday, May 17 for a free viewing.

What: It Takes A Village: A found photography and art exhibition
 717 Tacoma Ave South, Suite C
 May 16 & May 17, 2 – 9 pm
$5 cover charge on May 16, Free on May 17

The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to support this project through Tacoma Artists Initiative Program funding. Exhibit space generously provided by Spaceworks Tacoma.

Village Online poster 1

Creative Space – you have needs, we are listening

11 Dec

creative space

Help support the growth of Tacoma’s creative community by taking an online survey!

Are you an artist or engaged in creative pursuits?
Do you lead an arts or cultural organization or creative business?
Do you need affordable space to live, work, create, rehearse, perform, or conduct business?

If so, we want to hear from you! Please take our comprehensive online artist market survey that will help the City and local developers understand the needs of the creative community in Tacoma. Our goal is to maintain and develop new affordable space for living, working and creating in Tacoma. Data from the survey will show the need, build support, help secure funding, and assist developers and creative space providers like Spaceworks Tacoma to help them make decisions that best benefit creative use within existing and future developments. Your input and a large response is critical to the project’s success – help us spread the word!

"Seal of Approval", version 1, created by Jessica Spring.

“Seal of Approval”, version 1, created by Jessica Spring.

Take the survey at by February 9, 2015. We’ll even send you a piece of original letterpress art created by Jessica Spring, while supplies last!


"Seal of Approval", version 2, created by Jessica Spring.

“Seal of Approval”, version 2, created by Jessica Spring.

This survey is a partnership between the City of Tacoma, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, and Artspace with generous support from JPMorgan Chase. The survey is being conducted by Artspace, the nations’ leading non-profit developer of affordable artists’ live/work spaces.  Artspace has been hailed by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation and others as an inspiration for the emergent creative placemaking movement. For more than 30 years, Artspace has brought its expertise to more than 200 cultural facility planning efforts from coast to coast.


1 City, 31 Days, 100s of Activities – it’s Tacoma Arts Month

10 Sep

TacomaArtsMonth_webimage_croppedOctober 2014 marks the 13th anniversary of Tacoma Arts Month – a community celebration of the arts that includes hundreds of community-hosted arts and culture events, exhibits, and workshops for all ages taking place every day throughout the month. Programming includes music, theater and dance performances; visual art exhibits; film screenings; literary readings; lectures; cultural events; and workshops. All events are open to the public and many activities are free.

Tacoma Arts Month is online
Information about the 300+ Tacoma Arts Month events and programs can be found online at

Let us bring the weekly calendar of Tacoma’s arts and culture happenings straight to your inbox so that you can plan out your weekday and weekend social calendar. Sign up for the twice-weekly Tacoma Arts Month e-newsletter and you’ll receive timely information about the multitude of fabulous arts and culture events you can be a part of this October.

Signature events include:

  • Tacoma Arts Month Opening Party and AMOCAT Arts AwardsIntellectual property of the City of Tacoma, WA.  Republication prohibited
    October 2
    6 – 9 pm
    Tacoma Post Office Building, 1102 A St.
    Free and open to the public

Join us for this free community celebration. Live entertainment includes music by Speed Queen and Okinawa Taiko Drums, Trash Fashion Runway by Tinkertopia and Friends, theater performance by Working Class Theater, poetry by Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo, and a tintype photo demonstration by Kyle Dillehay. There will also be an exhibition of work by Jessica Spring and The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s Foundation of Art Award Exhibit. The newly-renovated building will host a series of pop-up art exhibits by Beautiful Angle, Alice Di Certo, Isaac Olsen, Kristin Giordano, the C.L.A.W., and Poly Rev. Resident artists Abby Kok, Alana Tamminga and Katlyn Hubner will open their studios to the public for the evening. Additionally, there will be screenings of short films by Kat Ogden, Nick Butler, Kris Crews, Kate Walker, and The Grand Cinema.

There will be appetizers, dessert and a no-host bar. The event will include recognition of the Tacoma Arts Commission’s 2014 funding recipients and the AMOCAT Arts Award winners – ArtsFund, Asia Pacific Cultural Center, and Jessica Spring. The event is presented by the Tacoma Arts Commission and Spaceworks Tacoma.

  • Tacoma Studio TourTacoma Studio Tour. Photo property of City of Tacoma.
    October 11 & 12
    11 am – 5 pm
    37 locations around Tacoma
    Free and open to the public

Come see the spaces and tools with which 61 local artists create their work. You can ask questions and purchase one-of-a-kind creations. This free, self-guided tour runs Oct. 11 and Oct. 12 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., and covers 37 locations around Tacoma. All studios will feature demonstrations of the artistic process or will have hands-on activities for visitors. Visit for a complete list of studio locations and and to use our interactive map to plot a custom tour just for you.

Start planning now; October is going to be a great month in Tacoma!

Tacoma Arts Month is sponsored by Click! Cable TV, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Tacoma Weekly, Northwest Public Radio, KPLU, Weekly Volcano, Premier Media Group, and Exit133.

Spaceworks Special Projects Opportunity

13 Jun


Spaceworks Tacoma and Downtown On The Go are currently seeking applications for a special Artscapes  project at 11th and Market in downtown Tacoma. Deadline to apply is June 25 at 5pm PST 

Overview of partnering programs:
Spaceworks Tacoma is a joint initiative of the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce designed to activate empty storefronts and vacant space. The initiative makes no- and low-cost temporary space, training, and technical assistance available to artists, creative entrepreneurs, organizations, and community groups in order to nurture successful projects that transform Tacoma into a stronger, more active city.

Downtown On the Go is the transportation advocate for anyone whose daily life is downtown. It is a program steered by a board of directors representing 20 downtown businesses, organizations, and agencies committed to leveraging their resources and relationships to reduce the downtown drive alone rate by 11% by 2015.

Special Artscapes Project Description:
Spaceworks Tacoma and Downtown On The Go (DOTG) are teaming up to facilitate new Artscapes for the building walls at 11th and Market in downtown Tacoma. We are seeking artist(s), artist teams and/or community groups to transform the current “Chalk Walls” into temporary 2-dimensional, site-specific installations (Artscapes) with a theme of transportation. Artists are asked to submit proposals that will create a space that adds to the livability of downtown and positively reflects living, moving, or being downtown Tacoma.

The building is located at 953 Market Street, Tacoma, WA98402. There are 15 wood panels total ranging in size from 150 SF to 400 SF. The Artscapes will be up for a period of 6 months and the artist will assume maintenance of the installations. Please submit proposals for all or part of the panels being offered with special attention paid to excluding the brick areas that are not currently painted green.

This project offers a stipend of $2,000 total (for materials, artists’ time and maintenance) for all panels located on 11th and on Market Streets. Applicants can propose to create an Artscape on only one side of the building, i.e. 11th street OR Market Street, for a stipend of $1000 per street side.

Chalk Walls at 11th and Market Streets

June 12, 2013                            Application available
June 25, 2013, 5pm PST        Deadline for application submission
July 11, 2013                              Review of applications and selection of artist(s)
Mid-July                                       Notification of selection results
August 2013                               Artscapes implementation

Selected artists must agree to the following:  

  • Enter into an agreement with Spaceworks Tacoma regarding the terms of use
  • This building is for sale, so the artists must be willing to deinstall the piece if the property owner finds a buyer within the negotiated timeframe
  • Present destination quality artwork
  • Maintain a high quality installation
  • Create an enticing visual display for passersby
  • Partner with Spaceworks Tacoma and DOTG to market and promote the installation
  • Comply with all federal, state, and local laws
  • Understand that initial payment is made within 30 days after installation, upon receipt of an invoice, and that payments cannot be made until contracts have been fully processed. A portion of payment is retained until deinstallation is complete.

Selection Criteria: Artists will be selected based on the following criteria.  

  • Quality of work as exhibited in the work sample
  • Feasibility and ability to execute proposal
  • Ingenuity and strength of concept/proposal
  • Appropriateness for the public realm 

 Selection Process
Applications to the Spaceworks program are reviewed by a panel of artists, arts professionals, Spaceworks Steering Committee members, representatives of neighborhood groups, and/or commercial property owners. 

 Questions? Or if you would like schematic drawings or photos of the panel walls, please contact Gabriel Brown, Spaceworks Arts & Economic Development Intern 253.682.1735,



  • 5-10 digital images that demonstrate the artist’s past work. Whenever possible, include images of similar past projects. Artists applying as a team who have no examples of joint work in the past should submit 5 images of each artist’s work.
    o File Format: Submit only “High” quality JPEG files (do not use GIF, TIFF, or other formats.) Do not embed the images into PowerPoint or submit moving image or audio files.
    o Image Size: Images must be atleast  72 ppi resolution and 1000 pixels max on the largest side.
    o File Size: Files must be less than 2 MB each
    o File Labeling: Files must be titled with the applicant’s name followed by a number indicating the viewing order. Use a “0” in front of single digit numbers and use only letters, numbers, and underscores. For example: Smith_01.jpg; Smith_02.jpg. If using Mac OS 8 or later, be sure to include a “.jpg” extension at the end of each image title.
    o File Upload: In the application, please upload your images in the order to be viewed.
  • AND/OR up to three Online Videos of the applicant’s past public interactions
    o Please provide the exact web address(es) where the online videos can be viewed. The panel will view a minimum of 1 minute and a maximum of 3 minutes of each video.

Provide the following information on the online application form for each image:

  •  Title of each work represented in the image or activity depicted
  • Media & dimensions (H x W x D”), if applicable, or description of activity
  • If work is presented as part of a collaboration, explain your role in the larger project

RESUME (three pages or less)

  • If submitting as a team/group, a current resume should be submitted for the contact person and all relevant team/group members
  • Save as PDF. File should be 1 MB or less.
  • Name your resume file with your last name like this: “Smith_ Resume.pdf”

Outline your proposal concept for this transportation-themed Artscapes installation. We are looking for a clear idea of your project and your ability to successfully implement it. Be as concise as possible. The review panel will not read more than the designated word count. You may answer in narrative, bulleted or other form. (500 words/3,000 characters or less)

Please submit a proposal sketch or other visual aid for your project. Submit a jpg using the same guidelines as listed for the digital image work samples, or submit a PDF document (3 MB max.)

Ready to apply? Click here to go to the online application. We suggest you gather all your materials before starting the application. If you have problems with the online application please contact Gabriel Brown, Spaceworks Arts & Economic Development Intern 253.682.1735,

Fun Spaceworks Fundraiser Needs You!

22 Apr

Wii Tennis, Beer, Pizza and Supporting Spaceworks…it doesn’t get any better than that! Won’t you join us? Here are the details:

Friday, April 26, 2013
Registration at 5:30pm, Tournament at 6pm
BLRB Office, 1250 Pacific Ave, Suite 700, Tacoma, WA

Bring your “A” game and retro tennis apparel (optional) to the 4th annual 2013 AIASWW Wii Tennis Tournament. Join Spaceworks staff, friends and supporters for a fun night of Wii Tennis at the cool offices of BLRB in downtown Tacoma. Spaceworks will appreciate your support through your entry fee of $20 for players or $10 for spectators, which includes both food & drink.

Please RVSP on our Facebook page or drop an email to:
Presented by Emerging Leaders Group (American Institute of Architects South West Washington Chapter)

Hungry for Cakewalk? Spaceworks Artists in the News

13 Sep

If you think about it, it’s almost dumbfounding, the number and quality of working artists who call Tacoma home. We’re not talking about a homespun enclave bookended by Seattle and Portland, but a respected community of artists, emerging and established, who exhibit regionally, nationally and around the world. Many of these pros barely make mention of the aah-mazing work they are doing, so as we ramp up to Cakewalk, the big Spaceworks fundraiser this weekend, we’re calling out some of those who have also been Spaceworks award recipients. This weekend, several of them will be donating serious art booty to the Cakewalk that you could win and take home!

This is just a small sampling, so come out this Saturday, meet and greet some of this town’s hardest-working creatives (in the studio and the kitchen), and buy tickets to win from a mind-bending array of art and edible creations that will be up for grabs! This is an all-ages event – refreshments provided, drinks available (21+). Cakewalk, September 15, 6-9 pm, 311 S. 7th St. in Tacoma. Tickets to win artwork or cakes ($20/$5). Entertainment by DJ Mr. Melanin and DJ Broam, dance performance by the BareFoot Collective, video installation by Kris Crews. For more info, click here. ADMISSION IS FREE!

Spaceworks artist and recovering golf addict Jeremy Gregory is emitting a glow these days; that special glow that says, “I have been hit by a meteor,” perhaps; or, “I have scored an astonishing art commission.” Gregory is working on the mother of all projects – a one-mile long mural at the much talked-about Point Ruston condo development on the Tacoma waterfront. “The name of the artwork is Paisley Water” and the original concept was by noted California ceramics artist Robert Gilbert, he says. Gilbert hired Gregory as an assistant, but liked his work so much he invited him to add his own inspiration to the waterfront trail, which will be executed in hand-made ceramic tiles. Tacoma artist Rachael Dotson is an assistant to Gregory.

Sculptor of words, Holly Senn, has a gorgeous, dreamily thought-provoking installation at the super-stylish Jupiter Hotel in Portland, OR, through October 2012. To support Spaceworks, Senn, who takes the leaves of cast-off library books and creates paper sculptures that vibrate with new meaning, is trying her hand at baking: “I’m donating a cake with a mini-installation on it inspired by Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s project, The Umbrellas.”

The Dome District Mural.

Chris Sharp has five words for his Cakewalk contribution: “Tiny painting. Urban. Lettering oriented.” Sharp, who shared a Spaceworks residency space with Jeremy Gregory (that would be the one with a skateboard quarter-pipe), is leaving his own signature on Tacoma – he recently led a team of painters in creating a wall-size Dome District mural for the Tacoma Murals Project. It’s a tribute to “the multitude of commuters, travelers and people who come to the area to find entertainment, go to work, and live.” Sharp was the inaugural recipient of the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s Foundation of Art Award, a $7,500 prize.

Oliver Doriss, the hardest-working man in the gallery business. Photo courtesy of GTCF.

This year’s recipient of the GTCF Foundation of Art Award, Oliver Doriss, will be taking the night off from his Fulcrum Gallery to DJ at the Cakewalk, and he’s gifting some of his fabulous glass babyhead cups, too. In addition to curating at Fulcrum, Doriss is a studio glass artist who produces his own one-of-a-kind sculptures, and has worked for the likes of Dale Chihuly and fashion designer Donna Karan. Thanks, Oliver!

Next door to Fulcrum, Tacoma’s beloved Fab-5 have found a permanent home – and energized a long-vacant commercial space – through the Spaceworks program. The group is currently wrapping up a super-secret graffiti project that goes up, down and around the insides of a corporate headquarters in Kent. This was a major commission, as in, they just shipped out 32 cubic feet of spraypaint – and that was the leftovers! “[It’s] the craziest mural project we’ve done so far in scope and detail,” says the always-fab Chris Jordan. Begun last December, the project will culminate in a video documentary. Fab-5’s organization, FABITAT, is deeply admired for its free workshops that encourage underserved youth to develop and explore their identities through music, movement, visual arts, written/spoken word, and – new this year – photography. Congratulations, Fab-5!

Fab-5 graffiti artist Kenji Stoll currently has an installation in the Woolworth Windows.

“I am donating a piece of art. I don’t have a photo of it. I’m also making a cake. All my other projects are in various stages,” says Spaceworks artist and renowned printmaker, Lance Kagey. Last year, with his creative partner, Thom Llewellyn, Kagey launched Rotator, Tacoma’s first coffee-table art magazine. He switched mediums for the Cakewalk: “I can say the art I’m giving is very different from what people may expect from me. Yes. Edible, I hope. If all goes well it will be a bit Alice-in-Wonderlandish. But it might end up, just a cake.”

Breaking new ground is Tacoma’s terrific writing center, write@253, a Spaceworks project modeled after Dave Eggers’ wildly successful San Francisco literary lab, 826 Valencia. Hot off the press is the first issue of The Hilltop Times – a neighborhood paper written and produced by young write@253 participants! With free workshops by guests such as award-winning author, Peter Bacho, and a summer Bard Camp for children K-6, write@253 is helping to keep the language alive! Watch for write@253’s surprise gift at Cakewalk!

“Semi-Automatic” by Michael Kaniecki

Just in – a knockout Cakewalk donation by artist Michael Kaniecki, drawn from his remarkable installation of drawings, Semi-Automatic. “I am donating nine of my drawings completed during my Spaceworks residency for the Cakewalk. Each original 9″ x 12″ drawing has been folded into a cube and mounted onto a board forming another 3 x 3, three-dimensional grid ready for hanging on a wall. It’s a lightweight drawing sculpture and I love it. Hope someone else will love it too and take it home with them.” We do, we do!

Jessica Spring is an artist’s artist: she joins consummate craftsmanship as a printmaker with a wickedly humorous, literary sensibility. Her work is in numerous collections including that of the British Museum. “I’m taking off teaching this fall to finish up several new books,” she says. With Chandler O’Leary (below), an artist with whom she frequently collaborates, Spring is making a gift of a limited-edition print, Prop Cake, part of their Dead Feminists series.

Janet Marcavage found time to create a Spaceworks installation this summer in between exhibits in New York City and Port Townsend, WA. Warp and Weft I is one of the fabulous artworks that will be available at Cakewalk on September 15 – it’s a beautiful, delicate piece that is best appreciated up close and personal. The print fittingly relates to Janet’s current Spaceworks installation in the Woolworth Windows.

Sculptures by Claudia Riedener at an exhibit at Gallery 301.

Four Spaceworks artists – Chandler O’Leary, Diane Hansen, James Sinding and Lisa Kinoshita – have been awarded public art commissions through the PA:ID (Public Art:In Depth) program presented last year through the City of Tacoma and taught by artist and educator, Elizabeth Conner. Artists Bret Lyon, Claudia Riedener and Ed Kroupa have also received public art commissions after completing the course. “What we are doing is investing in artists who have accomplished a level of success in their studio work to teach them intensively about public art – what it is, what it entails, how one has to not only be a good artist, but also think about the site, the community, get projects engineered, and get permits,”  Amy McBride, Tacoma Arts Administrator, told the Weekly Volcano, last year.

Each of the seven artists has received a project award in the amount of $25,000; two more recipients have yet to be announced. The commissions are as follows:

Diane Hansen – A St. Passageway, Sound Transit
Lisa Kinoshita – STAR Center, Metro Parks Tacoma
Ed Kroupa – The Esplanade
Bret Lyon – Foss Waterway Seaport
Chandler O’Leary – Old Town Dock, Metro Parks Tacoma
Claudia Riedener – 66th St. Overpass, Sound Transit
James Sinding – Pacific Ave. Underpass, Sound Transit

Watch for new works by these artists throughout the city in the coming year – you may spot their work at the Cakewalk, too!

10 in 10: The F.W. Woolworth Building

14 Sep

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Art at Work Month, our 10 in 10 series is spotlighting a decade’s worth of fabulous things about Tacoma.

Woolworth's, a 1950's superstore. Photo courtesy of Tacoma Public Library

The Woolworth Building. It’s an anchor of Tacoma’s downtown, a box-shaped receptacle of local lore, and a bastion of nostalgia for those who shopped at the famous five-and-dime or filled up at its homey lunch counter before it closed to the public in January 1994. It’s one of Tacoma’s best-loved buildings, with a varied past. Today, Woolworth’s broad storefront windows provide a unique, open-air exhibition space for art, and no longer advertise the inexpensive household goods that attracted windowshoppers from 1950 on.

The building at 955 Broadway is a landmark of local history and architecture. In the 1800s, it was the location of the First Presbyterian Church (and of a freshwater spring that sometimes leaked inside. Trickles persist to this day.). The church’s minister condemned the racism aimed against Chinese railroad workers at the time, but to no avail; they were driven out of town in the 1880s.

Waiting for the doors to open at Woolworth's. Photo courtesy of Tacoma Public Library

In 1890, the church was replaced by a new altar dedicated to the world of finance: the Fidelity Building, designed by the great Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, of Burnham & Root. (Another of the firm’s structures, the Luzon Building on Pacific Ave., was demolished last year against the protests of citizens and preservationists.) Exactly six decades later, the Fidelity Building was razed to make room for Woolworth’s: such was the success of the New York-based retail chain that it could afford to tear down a handsomely embellished 12-story skyscraper and replace it with a four-story, post-Deco structure whose style was dictated by its brand image. The superstore of the future opened during United Tacoma Days, on Nov. 2, 1950.

The five-and-dime was located across from the sprawling Crystal Sanitary Market where fresh produce filled the stalls; and from the classy Rhodes department store. Other neighbors included small specialty shops, dressmakers and haberdashers. Tacoma’s theater district, one block away, came alive at night; by six o’clock the independent businesses would close, but the behemoth retailer would stay open later, selling candy to moviegoers. Woolworth’s quickly became an important fixture for those who lived downtown, a place where one could find anything – housewares, shoes, cheap jewelry, Simplicity dress patterns and fabric, toys, even pets – and still have enough left for a grilled cheese sandwich and a ‘shake at the 62-seat lunch counter. Continue reading

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