A couple days of information sessions and tours will start Tuesday on the City Hall Artspace Lofts project. Artists wishing to be considered by Artspace, Dearborn for the opportunity to reside and work there can learn more about living in the lofts from these tours and sessions.
The City Hall Artspace Lofts project is renovating the former Dearborn City Hall into a mixed-use arts campus, combining 53 units of affordable work-live space for artists and their families, work studios, incubator space for entrepreneurs and artists, office space for creative businesses and non-profits, and a live-work unit for an artist-residency program, and galleries.
The first session will be Feb. 23 inside the Annex Building Community Room, 4500 Maple St. in east downtown Dearborn. A tour of the City Hall Artspace Lofts will follow the 1 p.m. session. The other information session will take place Feb. 24 at 9 a.m., with another tour to follow that session as well.
To attend, come to the free city-owned parking lot at the southeast corner of Maple Street and John Nagy Drive, directly across the street from the entrance gate. Enter through the pedestrian gate off John Nagy Drive, which Asset Manager Kimberly Moore said is off a patio area near the back corner of the building, a lower entrance below street-level grade. She emphasizes all artists are welcome to attend.
“We’re not trying to get any type of artist, not any certain art form,” project manager Becky Carlson St. Clair said.
Moore (who manages Artspace’s assets at locales across the nation by being the key point-of-contact for community stakeholders, business owners, developers, and residents in community planning and economic development processes) emphasizes what makes Artspace projects unique is that a photographer will live next to a dancer, or a graphic designer.
The filling of loft units by applicants in the annex is anticipated by the end of the week, according to St. Clair, as Moore added that Artspace Dearborn has a waiting list for more applicants.
“We will begin to move more people into the annex,” Moore said. “The main City Hall building is still open to anyone, as we’re just wrapping up construction there right now.”
By meeting in the annex community room, prospective tenants will see that as well on the tour, as they will have the opportunity to walk through different sized units, and the model unit will be open and available for people to see what the units will look live when they are actually lived in. Though the tour will also include the main building of city hall, Moore said that even though the information session and tour will only cover residential space in the wings, if anyone is interested in the commercial space, Artspace will be accepting professional businesses and artists to occupy it.
“We’re also looking for unique artists and businesses to go in the corridor (between the two wings) after we complete the residential part of the building,” she said.
In Artspace projects, accepting applications for its projects, prospective tenants are not only put through the standard criminal check and credit check, but also a third step. The last part in artist selection is to meet with a community panel made up of arts people and community residents, to talk about the art form they work in and how they go through their creative process.
Artspace has been receiving applicants from people who come from outside this geographic area, Moore added, saying they want to move to Dearborn “not just because of the project, but also for the cultural diversity of the area.”
To RSVP for the information session and tour, go to facebook.com/artspacedearborn. The sessions still remain open to everyone who wants to attend regardless, Moore said, but the RSVPs “gives us an idea how many will be there.”
Established in 1979 to serve as an advocate for artists’ space needs, Artspace effectively fulfilled that mission for nearly a decade. By the late 1980s, however, it was clear that the problem required a more proactive approach, and Artspace made the leap from advocate to developer.
Since then, Artspace has expanded its range of activities to include projects in operation or development in more than 20 states across the nation. In all, these projects represent nearly 2,000 live/work units and millions of square feet of non-residential community and commercial space. Artspace has evolved from a Minnesota organization with a few national projects into a truly national organization based in the Twin Cities, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans and Washington DC.
For any questions on Artspace or the City Hall Lofts project in east downtown Dearborn, contact Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.