January 5, 2022
Artspace Tampa Initiative, An Effort to Bring Affordable Live/Work Housing to Artists, Is Now a Project of the Tampa Arts Alliance
[TAMPA, FLORIDA, January 5, 2022] — The Artspace Tampa Initiative to build affordable live/work housing for Tampa artists is now a project of the Tampa Arts Alliance. Neil Gobioff, president of the Gobioff Foundation, currently chairs both endeavors, allowing for smooth transition.
The effort to build affordable artist live/work housing took form in September 2020 when a group of passionate local leaders and artists started the Artspace Tampa Initiative. The project partnered with Tempus Projects to invite Artspace Projects, a national nonprofit leader in the field of affordable creative space development, to assess the potential for an affordable mixed-use, artist live/work facility in Tampa. With the project growing larger as it enters the next project phase—pre-development— Artspace Tampa sought support from the Tampa Arts Alliance.
Tempus Projects director, Tracy Midulla, shares, “Tempus Projects proudly served as the fiscal sponsor and managing partner of Artspace Tampa Initiative through the Preliminary Feasibility Study and Arts Market Study phases of the project. As the project grows beyond the capacity of our small nonprofit, we are glad to have the Tampa Arts Alliance carry it through to development.” She and other founding members will continue to serve on Artspace Tampa Initiative’s Steering Committee ensuring project continuity.
The move offers Artspace Tampa greater organizational capacity and reach to amplify the message that immediate action is needed to retain Tampa’s creative sector. Though the Alliance is newly formed, its Board of Directors unanimously voted to support Artspace Tampa because the project aligns well with the core values of the organization. “The Tampa Arts Alliance aims to unite and build the arts in Tampa. You can’t do that if artists can no longer afford to live and work here.” says Neil Gobioff.
To date, Artspace Tampa Initiative has raised over $114,000 to support the Preliminary Feasibility Study and Arts Market Study, with major donors including the Gobioff Foundation, Raymond James Charitable, the Vinik Family Foundation, and Bank of America. They now aim to raise an additional $150,000 toward the research and development phase of pre-development, which will determine the site of the project and scope of the building and its amenities, with careful consideration toward the qualifications to secure LIHTC credits. Successful launch of an Artspace Tampa building project is critically dependent on robust support from local government, foundations, funders, and partnering organizations.
Mixed use arts facilities with long-term affordability have been shown to generate economic revitalization and development; increase arts and cultural activity; stabilize neighborhoods; revitalize vacant and underutilized properties; catalyze private and public investment; support independent artists; and create community spaces. A new mixed-use facility that includes affordable housing could help to stabilize Tampa’s creative community and provide a model for equitable development that bridges geographic and socioeconomic divides.
In July 2021, Artspace concluded an Arts Market Study (AMS) that relied on an online public survey. The survey was completed by an impressive 1,159 creative sector respondents who currently live in or would live in the Tampa Bay region if affordable creative space were made available. Input from individual artists helped test the project concept and determine what types and how many spaces should be planned, what amenities to include, and what “affordable” really means to the area’s artists, makers, and creatives.
Key takeaways from the AMS survey include:
- Response rate: Tampa had an exceptional response rate with the third highest number of responses of any Artspace survey (only Los Angeles, CA and Asheville, NC had more). This is a testament to the dedication of the Artspace Tampa Initiative team and their community partners, and to the depth of Tampa’s creative sector.
- Respondent demographics: The survey respondents ranged widely in age, race/ethnicity, gender, veteran status, and creative discipline (detailed demographics in full AMS report). Artspace will continue to strive toward reaching more diverse audiences. The survey is the most challenging phase to reach everyone, so these demographics represent a good starting point.
- Type of space: 90% of respondents were interested in at least one of the types of creative space Artspace provides: Affordable artists’ live/work housing (42%), private studio space (42%), and shared creative space (58%). These numbers are fairly consistent with past Artspace surveys nationally and represent a strong need.
- Affordable housing need: Survey respondents specifically interested in affordable live/work housing (42% of total) were younger and more racially/ethnically diverse.
- Artist retention: 76% of Tampa residents interested in live/work housing said they have considered leaving Tampa, but 95% of them would be encouraged to stay for this opportunity. This important statistic reveals the great risk we face of losing Tampa’s creative individuals, and also the positive impact an Artspace facility could have on retaining them.
- Income requirements: Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) are a primary funding source for Artspace projects, so respondents were asked to share their income. There are defined income tiers required to qualify for different kinds of LIHTCs. Of the respondents interested in live/work housing, 48% would qualify at or below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), and 61% would income qualify at or below 80% AMI. The project would provide workforce housing that includes specialized creative space.
- Private and shared creative space: There is a strong need for private studio space (42% of respondents), which would be rented below and at market rate, depending on income. The highest percentage of respondents (58%) were interested in shared creative space, which may or may not include specialized equipment.
- Project location: Respondents preferred to be located in Seminole Heights, Downtown, Ybor City, Tampa Heights, and West Tampa (in order of preference). Location will ultimately be dependent on a number of factors, including availability of affordable property and access to nearby amenities and public transportation.
- Recommended outcomes: The data supports 89 to 128 units of affordable artist live/work housing, assuming 100% housing that is affordable to households between 30% and 60% AMI. It also supports up to 100 private studio spaces as well as shared creative space such as teaching, rehearsal, exhibition, performance, and recording spaces. This need will not likely be met by a single Artspace facility, so other developers and entrepreneurs in Tampa are encouraged to pursue these kinds of projects.
An overview of the results of Tampa’s Arts Market Study were shared at a virtual public Zoom event on October 7, 2021. A recording of the event and the full AMS report are available online at www.artspacetampa.com. Artspace encourages these results to be shared widely with building owners, developers, and space operators; policymakers and advocates of the creative sector; and funders to help move the project to the next step.
Artspace Projects is a nonprofit organization that uses the tools of real estate development to create affordable, appropriate places where artists can live and work. Because Artspace owns and operates the projects it develops, it can ensure that they remain affordable and accessible to artists in perpetuity. Over the last three decades, Artspace has led an accelerating national movement of artist-centric community transformation. While embracing the value the arts bring to individual lives, Artspace has championed the once-radical idea that artists living on the edge of poverty and chronically underfunded arts organizations can leverage fundamental social change. With headquarters in Minneapolis and offices in New York and Washington D.C., Artspace is America’s leading developer of arts facilities and has served as a consultant to hundreds of communities and arts and culture organizations nationwide.
The Tampa Arts Alliance is a collaborative nonprofit 501(c)(3) established in 2021 as a catalyst and convenor of arts advocates dedicated to making Tampa a city known for excellence in the arts. For more information, follow Tampa Arts Alliance on Facebook at @TampaArtsAlliance and join the email list at www.TampaArtsAlliance.org.