Connecting the dots

 

 

 

 

 

 

A choral group in town was suffering under a lease for more space than they ended up needing – a large rehearsal room and several of their offices were empty more often than not. At the same time, and literally blocks away, a small theater company had outgrown their rehearsal space, and lost the lease on their office space. While it certainly didn’t take a rocket surgeon to connect the supply and the demand in this scenario, it did take someone to serve as a clearing-house for cultural space issues and to know about each and provide the introduction. “You saved our bacon. You saved our eggs,” says a board member.

An arts entrepreneur hoping to lease a building in Belltown for a new all-ages music project needed answers from a city department and she needed them fast. She had two weeks in which to sign a lease or lose the building, and the city department couldn’t meet with her for six weeks. With the access that one city department can gain to another department, we were able to provide her with access to answers. Again, it didn’t take a brain scientist to ask the right person the right question; it simply took someone in the right place at the right time, someone inside the city to advocate for cultural space issues. “That is fantastic, thanks so much,” says the entrepreneur.

An artist wanted to create a shared studio space in an old industrial building whose owner occupied the ground floor and who was happy leaving the upper floors unoccupied for fear that occupancy would trigger all sorts of city inspections and a can of building code worms. We were able to work through microfiche archives and find a 1917 classification of the building that justified a contemporary artist studio use without triggering a “change of use” that would have killed the deal. “This is great news. Microfiche!” cheers the artist.

The point is that the city is in a position to help with cultural space issues in a way that wasn’t resourced before. If you have an issue, or an opportunity to share, or a cultural space need, please make contact. We want you to have agency over your own cultural space destiny.

We’re here to help.

For more info, contact Matthew Richter, cultural space liaison (206-733-9955 or matthew.richter@seattle.gov)