By Anne B. Pope, Executive Director –
The Tennessee Arts Commission is honored to be part of the development of the Artspace South Main Lofts project in Downtown Memphis. The board recently unanimously agreed to award this project a grant of $25,000, which will be used to design the public plaza area facing the buildings. The Commission is pleased to partner with ArtsMemphis who will serve as a convening sponsor and planning facilitator to enhance the value of this community’s cultural asset.
Artspace South Main Lofts, to be located at 138 St. Paul Avenue in the South Main Arts District, will be a 58-unit development that includes both adaptive reuse of an existing warehouse and new construction. When complete, the $17M project will be the only affordable housing development intended purely for artists and creative professionals in the greater Memphis area. Rent will range from $450 for efficiency units to $770 for three-bedroom units. South Main Lofts will be the first Artspace facility in the Southeastern United States. ArtsMemphis will work with the South Main Artspace Lofts to use the space for performances and public art exhibits, and connect to neighborhood events, including the weekly farmer’s market, South Main’s Trolley Nights and the annual River Arts Festival.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, a key supporter of this project, recently stated, “I am a strong supporter of the arts and the Artspace South Main Lofts is a true example of how the arts can drive economic and community activity in an area. The project’s funding reflects strong support from throughout the Memphis community, as well as national support leveraged by Artspace.”
The South Main Artspace Lofts will have significant positive economic and community impacts on the South Main neighborhood and the greater Memphis area. It will be a model for other communities across Tennessee. This project will engage arts and culture in continuing to brand this Memphis neighborhood, reach underserved populations and cement a high value partnership for Tennessee with the national nonprofit Artspace.
“South Main is thriving right now, thanks to visionary and creative efforts of so many people,” says Elizabeth Rouse, President and CEO of ArtsMemphis. “The plaza at Artspace South Main Lofts will be a dynamic, vibrant public place for everyone who lives and works in the district. ArtsMemphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission are proud to help bring it to life.”
The Tennessee Arts Commission’s support leverages additional funds as part of a challenge grant and joins major contributions from the Educational Foundation of America, the First Tennessee Foundation, AutoZone, Southern Sun Asset Management, Loeb Properties, Assisi Foundation of Memphis, Pyramid Peak Foundation, the City of Memphis, Downtown Memphis Commission, Ford Foundation and the Hyde Family Foundations.
“The arts and culture in Tennessee can be engines of economic growth and vitality through creative placemaking. This project is an example of creative placemaking at its best, serving as a catalyst for artistic achievements and adding vibrancy to the neighborhood,” said Stephanie Conner, Tennessee Arts Commission Chair.
About Artspace. Artspace is a non-profit organization that uses the tools of real estate development to create affordable, appropriate places where artists can live and work. It consistently develops these projects in ways that also support more stable, healthy communities anchored in existing assets. Because Artspace owns each of the projects it develops, it is able to ensure that it remains affordable and accessible to artists in perpetuity. Over the last three decades, Artspace has led an accelerating national movement of artist-led 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 Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Seattle 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 organizations nationwide.
For more information how to support the South Main Artspace Lofts, please contact Kathleen Kvern, Senior Director, National Advancement, Artspace at (612) 465-0219.