The Results Are In! Artspace Market Survey of Charleston

It is no secret in the Charleston region that, for artists, affordable space is hard to come by. This is true both for work space and living quarters as the development boom continues and neighborhoods are changing before our eyes. For years the Foundation has heard from artists and arts organizations alike that space is limited and what IS available is too expensive. GDDF believes a community where arts organizations are stable and artists are able to make a living while contributing their artistic skills, is key to that community’s quality of life. With this mind, the Foundation brought Artspace, the nation’s leading nonprofit developer of live-work space for artists, into the Charleston/ North Charleston region in 2016 to get some facts and spark a conversation about the needs of our arts community.

Last fall, Artspace conducted a market survey of what artists want in the way of facilities support for living and working in the region, polling more than 300 individual artists and 60 arts organizations.

Not surprisingly, an overwhelming number of respondents said they are interested in creative workspace, including shared maker space and individual studio space. Most artists say they are able to afford between $200 and $300 per month rent for work space, in line with the national average, and are interested in spaces up to 500 square feet. Interest in affordable housing/live-work space was lower than anticipated. Only a third of those who completed the survey are interested in live/work space, with only a fraction of those likely to qualify the project  for the low-income tax credit, the primary financial tool Artspace believes would be necessary to make the project viable.

While the numbers were being crunched this year, a number of exciting arts-related projects have been taking shape in Charleston and North Charleston, from the new Redux Contemporary Arts Center on King Street to the planned adaptive reuse of the Chicora Cherokee Elementary School in North Charleston. But there is room for more.  Artspace recommends that the community consider the development of a 100% creative commercial space in North Charleston that would potentially provide both private studio space and shared maker space in one project. Artspace also recommends using the data from the survey to inform local developers about the demand for artist space and encourage them to incorporate creative space and affordable housing units for artists into existing and future projects.

The Foundation is pleased to be able to provide the community with research that will help guide future decisions on the needs of artists and serve as  a catalyst for community conversations about artists’ needs in a rapidly growing region.

For the Artspace Presentation of Findings, click here.

To watch the Artspace community meeting on September 29, 2017 click here.

For the full report, click here.

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