Artspace survey on affordable housing for Asheville artists launches Jan. 25

Press release from the Center for Craft:

The Center for Craft and Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the launch of a comprehensive community outreach campaign and survey to quantify affordable housing and space options for Asheville’s artists, makers, performers and creatives. The Arts Market Survey, with a tagline of “Keep Asheville Creative,” is the next step to addressing community need as part of a bigger project to develop live/work, mixed-use-model development for the creative sector in Asheville.

The Arts Market Survey will be open for eight weeks, launching January 25, 2018 and closing on March 26, 2018. The survey is facilitated by Minneapolis-based Artspace Consulting, a branch of Artspace Projects, Inc., a national nonprofit real estate developer that specializes in creating, owning, and operating affordable housing and studio space for artists and creative sector businesses. As an added incentive, survey participants will have the chance to win a $250 prize for creative supplies.

A survey launch party will take place on Thursday, January 25, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7 pm at the Center for Craft (67 Broadway Street). The party is free and open to the public, and artists, makers, performers, and creatives are encouraged to attend. Registration for the event is available at Refreshments include light hors d’oeuvres by Foothills Local Meats, kombucha cocktails by Buchi Kombucha and desserts by French Broad Chocolates. Free parking will be available at HomeTrust Bank.

Stephanie Moore, Executive Director of the Center for Craft, views the project as a top community priority. “We know that Asheville has a tremendous creative sector that has significantly shaped the region’s identity and culture for the past 100 years. We also know that many artists and creatives are leaving due to the rapidly increasing cost of living, putting Asheville’s culture at risk. Developing affordable housing and space solutions for artists and creatives is a key priority.”

Artspace Preliminary Feasibility Report

In August 2017, Artspace submitted preliminary findings, confirming the need for an affordable housing development for artists and creatives in Asheville and recommending that the community quantify the demand through an Arts Market Survey. Based on this early assessment, Artspace identified the City-owned parcel located in the River Arts District at 81-91 Riverside Drive (i.e. “Ice House”) as the priority development site. Artspace noted that in spite of challenging site conditions, retaining artists in the River Arts District is a priority when taking into consideration their “sustainable community impact” metrics. Click here to view the Preliminary Feasibility Report.

Mayor Esther Manheimer was an early advocate of the project and sits on the Core Leadership Group. “Affordable housing continues to be a priority for the city of Asheville. Artspace’s preliminary recommendation for an affordable housing development for artists in the River Arts District is exciting. I look forward to working with our community partners to move this project forward,” remarked Manheimer.

Arts Market Survey

Ultimately, the Arts Market Survey provides an opportunity to test assumptions and develop a project concept that meets the community’s needs. Mike Marcus, Assistant Director at the Center for Craft views the Arts Market Survey as a critical next step.

“This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s critical that everyone who considers themselves an artist, maker, musician, performer, designer and/or ‘creative’ be counted, whether it’s their full-time pursuit or part-time passion. Arts and cultural organizations and influencers are being encouraged to spread the word through their networks so that we reach everyone in the community,” said Marcus.

Newly elected City Councilwoman Sheneika Smith notes, “This project is a wonderful display of how community-led solutions help advance efforts to solve Asheville’s housing challenges. I encourage creatives from all artistic disciplines to weigh in, so that no other artist or cultural leader is lost to another region.”

To assist in this effort, print and digital media kits are being distributed at the Artspace Survey Launch Party event on January 25th. For more information on media kits, please contact Mike Marcus at

Funding Partners

The preliminary feasibility assessment and Arts Market Survey have been generously funded by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, City of Asheville, Center for Craft, Ted and Senator Terry Van Duyn, Duke Energy Foundation, HomeTrust Bank, Dana and Jana Stonestreet, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Diamond Brand Gear.

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