How we became America's leading nonprofit real estate developer for the arts.

1979 - An Advocate for Artists' Space Needs

Established in 1979 to serve as an advocate for artists’ space needs, Artspace effectively fulfilled that mission for nearly a decade.


Late 1980s - A Shift from Advocate to Developer

By the late 1980s, however, it was clear that the problem required a more proactive approach, and Artspace made the leap from advocate to developer. Since then, the scope of Artspace's activities has grown dramatically. Artspace is now a national leader in the field of developing affordable space that meets the needs of artists through the adaptive reuse of historic buildings and new construction.


1990s - First Live/Work projects in Saint Paul

Artspace’s first three live/work projects were in Saint Paul: the Northern Warehouse Artists’ Cooperative (1990), Frogtown Family Lofts (1992), and Tilsner Artists’ Cooperative (1993). In the mid-1990s, Artspace broadened its mission to include non-residential projects. The first of these, the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art (1995), transformed a historic bakery in the Minneapolis Warehouse District into 24 studios for mid-career artists. 


Present Day

Since then, Artspace has expanded its range of activities to include projects in operation or development in more than 20 states across the nation. In all, these projects represent nearly 2,000 live/work units and millions of square feet of non-residential community and commercial space. Artspace has evolved from a Minnesota organization with a few national projects into a truly national organization based in the Twin Cities, with additional offices in New York and Washington DC.

Artspace fulfills the bulk of its mission through property development, asset stewardship, consulting services, and donor funded programs.