Dec 1, 2023

Measuring Impact: The Catalyst of our Impact Campaign | THE ARTSPACE QUARTERLY

Ola Ka `Ilima Artspace Lofts Grand Opening

Ola Ka `Ilima Artspace Lofts Grand Opening



A hallmark of Artspace is that we only work in communities we have been invited into. For over four decades, we have held steadfast to that enduring value, and it has led us to successfully provide affordable spaces for hundreds of diverse creative communities throughout the country. But how are we able to measure the long-term effects of our work? And how can we ensure that it stands the test of time, long after this piece reflects on it? Well, in 2019, Artspace conducted a nationwide survey called The Importance and Thrivability in Artspace Live/Work Properties. Among the information gathered directly from residents, we gained a clearer understanding of the impact of Artspace developments:


21% of respondents had been unsheltered in the five years prior to relocating to their Artspace live/work unit. 

67% said they felt optimistic about their future because of the stability of their Artspace housing. 

76% said that they felt secure through having a long-term place to live and work. 

61% said that they had learned new skills or techniques at Artspace.



Artspace Green Homes North

Artspace Green Homes North



But barely a year later, that rosy-colored success felt completely insignificant as everyone across the world found their lives turned upside down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of households faced financial stress related to COVID-19 job losses while simultaneously combating rising rent. The need for stable spaces for artists and art organizations increased significantly in those coming months, leaving affordable housing in even more of a limited supply. It was and continues to be, a crisis that further excludes those who are less affluent and exacerbates racial and generational gaps in wealth building. 


According to a study from the Brookings Institution, 2.7 million jobs were lost in the initial wave of the pandemic, along with more than $150 billion in sales of goods and services for creative industries nationwide. A study from Americans for the Arts found:


Individual artists lost an average of $34,000 in creativity-based income.

63% experienced unemployment.

37% were unable to access or afford food at some point.

58% hadn’t visited a medical professional due to an inability to pay. 



Bell Artspace Campus

Bell Artspace Campus



The massive hit to the creative sector served to underscore the necessity for affordable housing more than ever, and Artspace felt the mandate to secure the means necessary to increase our ability to provide.


Artspace’s Impact Campaign seeks to do just that—amplify our impact. This ambitious $15 million capital campaign seeks to give back to its communities through three major pillars: opportunity, equity, and sustainability. Each of these cooperating funds has been allocated a separate fundraising goal to fulfill a different area of support across Artspace’s mission.


The $7 million opportunity pillar is a fund that will allow Artspace to more strategically and quickly develop mixed-use affordable housing projects in rural and urban communities across the country. This pillar will provide essential predevelopment funds, place transformative projects in communities that need them most, and support partnerships with local stakeholders to ensure equitable community development that meets and serves community needs. Initially, this fund will develop 500 units of affordable housing in BIPOC and marginalized communities.


The $3 million equity pillar is a fund that will create programs, internal policies, and resources that ensure equity and anti-racism efforts across Artspace and all its properties and projects. This fund will support a nationwide expansion of the Artspace Immersion, a program that helps grow the capacity of organizations that are BIPOC-led and/or serve systemically marginalized communities. Funding will also be allocated towards extending Artspace’s Pathways: Native Space Initiative for a decade. This program provides Native arts and cultural leaders with real estate development tools and capacity-building expertise.


And finally, the sustainability pillar will use its $5 million fund to steward existing assets and reinforce Artspace’s everyday impact. The goal of this fund is to increase our capacity to guarantee that residents and tenants have safe and sustainable spaces for generations to come. 


While the Impact Campaign is still in its youth, it is no doubt well underway. In fact, Artspace has recently transitioned from the quiet phase of the campaign to the public phase and has raised nearly half of its $15 million goal to date. While it may be an ambitious goal, we believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that creating, fostering, and preserving affordable and equitable housing across the country is essential, now more than ever. Support of the Impact Campaign, at any capacity, will transform lives and communities for many years to come.

This piece was written by Pace Winkels, Artspace’s National Advancement Manager. In addition to fundraising for Artspace, he is a screen printer and kickboxer based in Minneapolis. You can find him designing custom clothing prints or walking around Lake of the Isles with his dog, Imelda Mae.