Group To Host Public Meeting To Explore Feasibility Of Art Space In Maywood

Monday, August 27, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured photo: A photo of Mesa Artspace Lofts, which Artspace developed in Mesa, Ariz. | Architectural Resource Team, Inc./Facebook 

Talks among a group of local stakeholders who hope to bring live-work space for artists and arts organizations to Maywood are progressing. The group is planning to host a public meeting so that residents can chime in on, and get information about, the idea for themselves.

The local steering committee, which is comprised of Maywood residents, nonprofits and businesses, has invited Artspace, the country’s leading developer of live-work artistic spaces, to help them evaluate the feasibility of bringing that kind of space to the village.

The group will host a public forum during Artspace’s visit to Maywood on Sept. 6, 7 p.m., at the Maywood Park District building, 921 S. 9th Ave.

Artspace, a Minnesota-based nonprofit real estate development organization, has been in operation since the late 1980s, when the organization embarked on transforming old warehouses and factories into live/work spaces for artists.

By 1990, Artspace had transformed a six-story warehouse built in 1908 by a railway company into the Northern Warehouse Artists’ Cooperative — “52 affordable live/work units (some of them as large as 2,000 square feet) for artists and their families on its upper four floors,” according to its website.

“The lower two floors provide office, studio and commercial space for nonprofit arts organizations, commercial artists and other tenants, including a coffeehouse and an art gallery,” the website notes.

By 1993, Artspace had transformed two more old commercial buildings into live/work artists’ space. And by 1999, it had redeveloped an old school in Chicago’s West Garfield Park area into the Switching Station Artists’ Lofts — a $5.3 million, 24-unit, roughly 37,000-square-foot artistic live/work community.

One of the newest Artspace-developed properties is Mesa Artspace Lofts. According to a statement on the organization’s Facebook page, the new development includes “up to 50 units of live/work space for artists and their families. Residential units vary in type including studio, one-, two-, and three-bedrooms. Unit rents serve households below 60 [percent] of area median income levels.”

The project also features 1,450 square feet of first-floor commercial space “for nonprofit arts organizations and creative businesses, as well as 2,900 square feet of community space for events, exhibitions, and educational programs.” 

The local steering committee in Maywood has been facilitated by Maureen McKenna, a community development officer with Community Reinvestment Fund, USA. McKenna. During an interview late last year, McKenna said that landing an Artspace development could take four to five years and takes place in several stages. The steering committee is still in stage one, which involves assessing the idea’s feasibility.

Only after the feasibility of locating an Artspace in the area is established can the group move on to other stages, such as marketing the project, picking a site and raising money for the development efforts.

“We’re excited about the outcome and believe we’ll see a positive result,” McKenna said at the time.

For more info on Artspace, visit their website at artspace.org. Anyone interested in attending the meeting should RSVP by emailing housinghelpersinc@gmail.com. VFP 

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