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Shunpike selected for pilot arts space program

Nonprofit arts service organization Shunpike will launch the Artist Space Assistance Program (ASAP), a pilot program in the Pioneer Square and Chinatown-International District neighborhoods designed to provide relocation and placement services for artists and arts organizations seeking affordable studio, live/work, exhibition, performance and/or rehearsal space.

ASAP grew out of community concerns related to the recent loss of artist studio space in Pioneer Square, a historic cultural district. On Oct. 1, the 619 Western Building, home to about 100 artist studios, was boarded up to make way for construction of the Highway 99 tunnel below.

In September, the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking proposals from individuals or organizations to develop a pilot artist space program. 4Culture, King County’s cultural services agency, is a program partner.

From now until March 1, Shunpike will assess artist needs and space opportunities, offer direct services to artists and arts groups and recommend a model for expanding the program to other Seattle neighborhoods. Shunpike envisions involving more than 30 artists and arts groups and a dozen property owners and real estate professionals and offering more in-depth, free placement services to about 10 artists and/or arts groups.

Interested artists and arts groups must complete a short application and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority will be given to artists with ties to Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District, especially those displaced by the closure of the 619 Western Building. Applications will open in November.

“We’re passionate supporters of keeping artists in Seattle,” said Andy Fife, executive director of Shunpike. “Real estate is not a static field. Shunpike is excited to create a model to help artists and arts groups navigate the ever-changing landscape of opportunities.”