The event marks a new effort to develop an affordable live-work space for Sarasota artists.
The Sarasota arts community is invited to participate in a survey about an affordable housing project targeted at artists.
The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County is conducting the survey with Artspace, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that develops live-work artist housing across the country. The effort to get Artspace expansion into Sarasota dates to 2013.
An initial visit from Artspace officials in 2014 yielded positive results, according to Arts Alliance Executive Director Jim Shirley. For the next three years, the Arts Alliance focused on raising money for the next phase of Artspace’s work: a market survey, designed to gather information regarding community interest in artist housing.
This year, the alliance completed that fundraising effort. Now, it’s hosting a public event Wednesday evening at Art Center Sarasota to launch the survey. The online survey will be open for responses for eight weeks.
The survey is designed to gather information about where artists live and what they could afford to pay for housing, Shirley said. It will also ask questions about what amenities they’d like to see in a live-work development, as Artspace projects typically include commercial or workshop spaces.
After the survey concludes in December, Artspace will give a recommendation report for a potential project. If Artspace selects Sarasota as the site for a project, the nonprofit works as the developer and manages a property in perpetuity to ensure affordability.
Shirley encouraged any artists in the region to participate in the survey to assure Artspace has a clear picture of the dynamics in Sarasota. Although the Artspace effort began nearly four years ago, Shirley is hoping the arts community will remain engaged and energetic as the arts alliance raises awareness about the campaign. Artists can learn more about the survey and the project as a whole at the alliance's website.
“We’re going to be actively continuing to make people aware they can take this survey, as long as it’s alive and on the internet,” Shirley said.