For artists around the globe, an art space is a space in which to create and manifest their creative visions. In 1979 in Minneapolis, a group formed a nonprofit organization to advocate for artists needs for space and created what they called “Artspace.” For a decade, Artspace fulfilled its mission and by the late 1980s, it became clear that helping artists find affordable, viable work spaces required a different approach, and Artspace made the leap from advocate to developer. Artspace is now a national leader in developing affordable spaces helping to meet the needs of artists through the reuse of historic buildings as well as new construction.
In 2002, Artspace was invited by the city to Santa Cruz to assess the feasibility of re-purposing the former Salz Tannery site into a multiuse arts campus at the core of which would be 100 units of affordable housing. Since 2003, Artspace has been a driving force in the development of the Tannery Arts Center project creating live/work spaces for artists and their families as well as the more recent addition of 29 working studios that have become thriving professional spaces for glass artists, printmakers, the Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center, an Arts Cafe and much more. In June the Tannery celebrates its fifth anniversary.