Artspace begins developing plans for artist community

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By Leigh Barber


With a thriving art scene and rich culture, Sarasota beckons to all kinds of artists. It is home to several museums and performing arts centers that draw crowds from all across the globe. Unfortunately, the phrase “starving artist” does hold some truth when it comes to living and working as an artist in today’s world. Luckily, organizations like Artspace exist. Artspace is the leader in transforming artist-led communities all around the country, and is now looking to build a community in Sarasota.

Based in Minneapolis, Artspace now has a network of 35 affordable arts facilities in 13 states and Sarasota now has the potential to be added to that list. Artspace’s mission is to create, foster, and preserve affordable living and working spaces for artists and art organizations.

Recently, there have been talks to provide facilities for artists in Sarasota’s North Trail. In April, two Artspace consultants were brought to Sarasota to perform an initial evaluation to determine if it was feasible to create a community. Last week, Artspace gave their approval to move forward with the plan. The first suggested step is to create an online survey of artists, creative businesses and cultural nonprofits within a 50-mile radius of The Ringling Museum and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall to determine how big the project will be.

The survey designed by Artspace will cost just under $50,000. Leaders of this mission are hopeful that there will be a thriving living and working artist community within five years.

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