Artist live/work spaces come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are built through private development, non-profit work, or grassroots community collaborations. Sometimes they renovate old warehouses, build new structures, or take over abandoned homes. No matter what the case may be for creating these projects, each has a unique story that fits the needs of its local community. On today’s list are three extremely different new live/work developments we’re excited to keep our eye on…
1. Bell Junior High Building – New Orleans, LA
Since Hurricane Katrina combined with other existing devastating downturns of the regional economy, New Orleans has been used to seeing its public schools fall into alternate use: demolished, sold, or renovated. For those with beloved memories of the institutions, they can only hope that the answer is the latter. This is case for a $38 million redevelopment of the Andrew J. Bell School, from dilapidated and eerie empty schoolyard into affordable artist live/work spaces that is creating a new vision for the area: inspiring change and hope.
For more information, check out the article Bringing Back Bell, by Artspace.
2. thinkEAST – Austin, TX
The site is 24 acres, including a portion of what was formerly known as the “Tank Farm”: an area where decades of the six largest major oil companies operated petroleum storage-tanks and distribution facilities. To change the area from urban blight to a creative community, a series of collaborative partnerships have shaped over the past two years, with non-profit arts organizations Fusebox, the City of Austin Economic Development Office, and ArtPlace America, to advance a planning and visioning process. During April 2015, thinkEAST hosted the annual Fusebox Festival, which built temporary structures for performances, installations, workshops, classes, food events, and explored ideas for making the development vibrant with the inclusion of the arts.
For updates on progress, living charette summaries, and more imaginative designs, check out their website.
3. Write A House – Detroit, MI
Write A House’s mission is simple: “To leverage Detroit’s available housing in creative ways to bolster an emerging literary community to benefit the City of Detroit and its neighborhoods. We enliven the literary arts of Detroit by renovating homes and giving them to authors, journalists, poets, aka writers. It’s like a writer-in-residence program, only in this case we’re actually giving the writer the residence, forever.” Flipping the switch on traditional writer’s residency terms, Write A House gave its first renovated home away to a local poet in November 2014.
For more information, check out their amazing website.