Arts Live-Work Lofts


Arts Live-Work Lofts

© Artspace; Image used with permission – www.artspace.org

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WHY TARGET SPACE FOR ARTISTS?

Arts live/work projects across the country have many positive benefits for their communities including:

  1. Revitalize vacant historic buildings
  2. Catalyze neighborhood reinvestment
  3. Help attract and retain top talent for Freeport businesses by putting Freeport on the map as a cultural destination
  4. Build a cultural economy, by:
  • Fostering artist collaboration: providing a central point to bring artists together to network and collaborate, creating opportunities for artists to “show their work, find clients, obtain employment, or learn new skills to expand their practice.” (From Taking a Measure of Creative Placemaking, page 4)
  • Stimulating entrepreneurship
  • Growing globally competitive industries including advertising, design, architecture, and media (Creative Placemaking, page 4)

 

WHY IS FREEPORT A GOOD LOCATION FOR ARTS SPACES?

ticket

Image from Winneshiek Players – http://www.winneshiekplayers.org/

Freeport offers a welcoming community, a source of inspiration, and affordable living for artists and other creative professionals. Freeport boasts:

  • The Winneshiek Players—the longest-running community theatre group in the country
  • Freeport High School’s nationally-recognized music program, a 2009 finalist in the GRAMMY Signature Schools program
  • The Freeport Art Museum which holds the largest repository of fine art in the northwest Illinois region
  • Strong networks of artists including the Momentum Art Guild
  • Proximity to an expansive market within a short drive to Galena, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Rockford, Dubuque, and the Quad Cities
  • Strategic location between Chicago and Galena which attracts 1 million visitors annually to its historic downtown and many art galleries

 

WHY IS THE RAWLEIGH COMPLEX WELL SUITED TO HOUSE ARTS SPACES?

IMG_0942The Rawleigh Complex offers ideal space for artists:

  • extensive natural light
  • rich architectural character
  • high ceilings
  • location in a charming, historic downtown
  • robust finishings
  • raw, personalizable flex space

 

 

WHAT COULD THE PROJECT LOOK LIKE?
armory arts village

Here are a few sources of inspiration from across the country:

  • MASS MoCA – North Adams, MA: A contemporary art museum in a former factory in a rural community.
  • Armory Arts Village, Jackson, MI: Artist live-work and art studio spaces in a former prison.
  • Franklin Arts Center,  Franklin, MN: a 147,000 SF arts live-work project in a city of 13,000 people in a former junior high school with 25 live-work units, studios and space for arts organizations and creative businesses, and gymnasiums and an auditorium operated by the school district.
  • Artspace:  a leading developer of affordable arts live-work space, offers many other project examples on its webpage.

Also, check out:

  • Creative Placemaking: A White Paper for the National Endowment for the Arts Mayors’ Institute on City Design

These are two great resources that illustrate the economic and community benefits of arts development projects:

 

WHAT’S THE MARKET FOR ARTS LIVE-WORK SPACE IN FREEPORT?

In 2007 – 2008, the City of Freeport commissioned not-for-profit Artspace to study affordable arts live-work housing in downtown Freeport. Artspace found market for development of 20 live-work units plus 13 studio units. Download the full study here: City of Freeport Downtown Arts Live-Work Initiative Summary.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Key next steps for advancing arts live-work at Rawleigh include:

  • Recruit a developer for “Building B” (which is most suitable for housing) with experience developing housing funded by federal tax credits that can package arts live-work housing with additional affordable units.
  • Identify other arts organizations and businesses in creative industries that may seek space at Rawleigh. Artspace highlighted this approach in its recommendations to Freeport: “The synergy created within mixed-use facilities strengthens a project’s viability and is more attractive to funders who also recognize the benefit of uniting the arts community.”