Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spaceworks Tacoma - Activating Space

Activated space.

It’s one of the most important elements of community development and neighborhood revitalization. It’s importance is understood by both high level urban planners and grass roots community organizers. It speaks both to architectural design and the importance of third spaces for people to gather, and it speaks to everything in between.

In Tacoma we have an inventive and robust effort that understands the importance of activated space - it’s called Spaceworks Tacoma.

Spaceworks is a partnership between the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce that is designed to activate empty storefronts and vacant spaces in the city with art and creative enterprise.

Property owners donate their vacant spaces and Spaceworks makes those low-cost temporary spaces available to artists, entrepreneurs, organizations, and community groups who transform those spaces with creative business, art installations, short term community based projects, or pop-up events.

Spaceworks also provides training, professional development and technical assistance to the participants in the program. 

Have you seen a Spaceworks installation around town? Have you visited a Spaceworks business? Have you attended one of a plethora of creative events and parties held in a Spaceworks activated spaces?

If not, what are you waiting for? They are all around you - in the downtown neighborhood, the Hilltop, the 6th Avenue corridor, and throughout the city.

On June 3rd from noon - 1pm, Spaceworks Tacoma will be highlighted in the Walk Tacoma series for 2015. Spaceworks is hosting a free, guided Public Art Walk that will be lead by Public Art Specialist Rebecca Solverson with the City of Tacoma.

This particular art walk will be 1.5 miles and will explore the local public art and murals found throughout the Hilltop neighborhood. The walk will start at People’s Park on S. 9th and MLK Jr. Way.

One of the more whacky and fun projects that Spaceworks will be involved with is in partnership with the Cartoonist League of Absurd Washingtonians (CLAW) and Downtown on the Go (DOTG).

CLAW has their Open Swim event tonight, May 27th, 7:30 pm at King’s Books. DOTG is sponsoring this open swim event by providing ten blank white bike helmets to be drawn on and decorated by attendees.

The plan is to have the decorated helmets serve as a traveling exhibit for DOTG to be orchestrated by Spaceworks. Rumor has it these helmets might end up on the heads of some well known Tacoma personalities during the Downtown to Defiance event in September. Finally, the helmets will be auctioned off and the proceeds split between DOTG and the CLAW Student Scholarship Fund.

Now that is some creative partnership if you ask me.

The thing about activated space - it is both a function of the space itself and the people that populate it. Spaceworks is doing it’s part. Let’s do ours and populate these spaces with our presence and our dollars.

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