Arts Market Study

The Arts Market Study determines the size and nature of the market for live/work housing, workspace, and shared creative and performing arts spaces.

The Arts Market Study follows the Preliminary Feasibility Study and is the second step towards an Artspace development. 


The Arts Market Study paints a clear picture of the demand for arts spaces in an area. It is a crucial step in the predevelopment process and instrumental in determining the size and nature of a market. Through an online survey, data is collected about local artists’ current space arrangement, interest in new space, income range, the amount they are willing to pay for space, and other demographic information. Individual artists are usually asked about their interest in live/work housing, private studio workspace, shared creative space, and shared performing arts space. The goals of the study are to:

  • Quantify the overall demand for arts and creative spaces.
  • Identify the types of spaces, amenities, and features that artists want/need.
  • Inform site selection, design, and programmatic decisions.
  • Maintain community involvement throughout the project.
  • Help build support and secure funding.


Each online survey is customized to reflect the unique characteristics of the project and the local arts scene. Developing the questionnaire, publicizing it, collecting data, and analyzing the results take about four to six months. The study can also include focus groups tailored around the specific space needs of organizations in a given community or industry. 


What is included:

  • Customized survey tool based on a proprietary template.
  • Outreach strategy, including examples, templates, and feedback.
  • One visit to the community, to present at a survey launch event and have any additional focus groups or meetings as needed. 
  • Online survey set-up, testing, and hosting.
  • Weekly updates on incoming responses with suggestions for continued outreach.
  • Report of Findings analyzing the data and includes recommendations about the number, types, and rental rates of units.
  • Technical report providing detailed statistical information on market demand.


Arts Market Case Studies

Through several phases of work between 2009 and 2015, Artspace worked with the City of Olympia, Olympia Artspace Alliance, and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation to help articulate the space needs of the arts community, identify and prioritize potential sites, secure letters of interest from key community-based commercial tenants, identify funding tools, and build support among local leadership for an arts facility. 

Since Artspace's Arts Market Study, plans for two new developments in downtown have been announced: one new-construction artist residential, and one mixed-use residential with 13 artists studios in a historic building. There are also conversations about a new art museum/center, and an initiative to put temporary art installations in downtown storefronts.

Olympia, WA Case Study

Artspace worked closely with the Center for Craft, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, city of Asheville, NC, and the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina to assess the feasibility of creating new affordable artist workforce housing and creative working spaces, and to quantify the need for new artist spaces. An Arts Market Survey was conducted in 2018 following the Preliminary Feasibility Study in 2016, and the results have been monumental in helping the community successfully advocate for and address the issue of rapidly rising rents and displacement through local efforts. The Artspace survey highlighted the local creative sector's need for affordable developments and was a catalyst for beginning the conversation surrounding arts-centric projects. 

You can read more about how Artspace's Arts Market Study findings and greater involvement continues to influence the discussion around space and the Center for Craft's work in Asheville here

The nearby cities of Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia, independently engaged Artspace to conduct a Preliminary Feasibility Study in 2013. Richmond’s interest was the potential for new creative space to retain its young artists; while Petersburg’s was downtown revitalization. While the goals for impact differed, synergies were apparent, including the discovery that many artists lived in one city but worked creatively in the other. Both studies recommended quantifying the need for affordable, creative space through an Arts Market Study. 

Because of geographic proximity and a shared creative sector, the two cities joined forces and Artspace developed a unique regional survey in 2014. A regionally focused arts partner, CultureWorks, conducted outreach. The study results gave each city relevant data and the confidence that demand existed for live/work artist housing and studio space. It also offered some parameters around how much of which types of spaces to consider creating, and provided some direction around how to navigate demand if both cities moved forward with plans at the same time.

While the City of Richmond chose to prioritize other initiatives in the months following the study, the City of Petersburg and its partner, the Cameron Foundation, worked with a real estate developer to embark on a new, $57 million dollar, mixed-income project that broke ground in 2019. The concept includes 226 artist live/work housing units, gallery space, and working studios. Read more about the exciting project underway here. 

On the heels of a 2017 Preliminary Feasibility Study, The City of Laguna Beach—long recognized for its “arts colony” brand—presented a unique challenge to Artspace: To quantify the demand for new space and leverage that data to craft policies supportive of creative space in one of Southern California’s most expensive cities. Working with the City and its Arts Commission, the Arts Market Study was designed to quantify demand for live/work housing, private studio space and shared creative spaces. With the understanding that high density was not a goal, but unique space models were, the survey asked about housing configuration preferences. It also sought to identify community members who lived and/or worked in substandard or non-compliant spaces and what actions by the city might take to help improve those space situations. 

The study results led the Art Commission to prioritize a series of adopted goals to  repurpose underutilized storefronts and commercial buildings for arts uses; the development of a multi-use Arts Center; and the development of multiple creative space initiatives led by both the private and public sectors. The report presented by Artspace before City Council in 2019 was well received. Elected officials gave direction to start on the action plan supported by the study, including sharing the results with local developers, adopting an amnesty program to let artists in non-permitted spaces stay while the spaces are adapted to code, developing a concept for a multi-use art space, and helping developers who are interested in offering affordable creative spaces.