Washington Studios

A Lesson in Renovation

315 N Lake Ave Duluth, MN, 55806

Get property updates

Sign up

Built in 1911, Washington Junior High School served Duluth students until it closed in 1992. Artspace acquired the building and transformed it into an affordable live/work artists’ building— the first Artspace project outside the Twin Cities. In an unusual arrangement, the building shares the six-story red brick building with a city-run community center that includes the former school’s gymnasium, pool and offices.

Many of Washington Studios’ 39 live/work units retain the chalkboards and cloakrooms of the former classrooms. The original gymnasium running track was preserved as a balcony in each of two split-level units. Shared amenities include a gallery, several special project rooms, a laundry room, children’s playground and large parking lot.

Washington Studios occupies a prominent site in Duluth’s Central Hillside neighborhood. Many of its units offer spectacular views of downtown Duluth, the busy harbor and majestic Lake Superior. The downtown shopping district and Canal Park, where tourists gather to watch the ore boats pass under Duluth’s historic lift bridge, are within walking distance. 

Community Partner: Duluth Head Start; Duluth Parks and Recreation; Woodland Hills

Funders: Duluth Art Institute; Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation; Fryberger Buchanan Law Firm; Grand Portage Indian Reservation; Independent School District 709; Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation; The McKnight Foundation; Northwest Area Foundation

Financial Partners: Duluth Economic Development Authority; Duluth Housing and Redevelopment Authority; Duluth Housing Trust Fund / Community Investment Fund; National Equity Fund; TCF Bank

est. 1996

Type of Development:

Live/Work Housing

Number of Units:


Total Project Cost:



Minimum 12-foot ceilings
Hardwood floors
Large windows
Close to bus line
Lake view and minutes from lake walk
All utilities included except electricity/phone