Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, TN


Gather information relating to: creative space needs, artist market, site feasibility, financial feasibility, local leadership, and alignment with community goals in order to determine what creative space project concept makes the most sense for Knoxville.


  • Identify sites that could be repurposed to serve as creative spaces for artists
  • Define opportunities for the city to organically grow the city’s creative space

Scope of work:          

Artspace's Consulting team conducted a Preliminary Feasibility Study in 2013 in partnership with Knox Heritage, The Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, City of Knoxville, Knox County, and Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville. Artspace determined Knoxville had great potential in most factors needed for a successful creative space development project. In addition to a vibrant and growing downtown core, conversations with artists revealed anecdotal demand for multiple types of space, including black box performance space, private studio space, as well as live/work space, particularly for new graduates of the University of Tennessee. A tour conducted during the visit identified several sites with potential to work well, depending on the settled-upon project concept, and interactions with local leaders indicated strong local support for the idea.


Though an Artspace-developed project did not ultimately materialize, Knox Heritage – a partner organization focused on historic preservation – did use the information and energy galvanized during our Preliminary Feasibility Visit to open working studio space in conjunction with its Salvage Shop preservation program, which accepts donated historic building materials and select vintage items to prevent them from going to the landfill. In 2015, following a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Salvage Shop moved to a larger, 6000+ SF space, which in addition to the Studios includes a retail shop, a woodshop, a gallery wall, and a showroom.

The Salvage Shop Studios are private artists workspaces, each a different size, ranging from 50-140 SF. Some individual studios have doors, but most are “open-air” with partitions to divide up each space, all receiving natural light from windows. Despite the fact that Knox Heritage’s mission of historic preservation would not necessarily include artist studio management, the Studios have successfully provided affordable artists studio space at $1/SF since opening, while simultaneously providing an income stream for the nonprofit and increased foot traffic to their retail shop.

Visit the Salvage Shop Studios Website: