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Roy Close and Anna Growcott of Artspace talk to the crowd about the recently launched artists’ survey at a kickoff party held last Friday. (Star Gazette photo by Katrina Styx)

Artspace study will determine local market for artists’ space

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news Hastings, 55033
Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

For roughly the next two months, Hastings residents will be able to contribute to an arts project here.

The Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council has partnered with Artspace, a non-profit developer, and the City of Hastings to conduct an online community survey that will determine just how much of a market Hastings has for artist live-work space or studio space.

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HPAAC and Artspace first started working together to look at the former Hudson Manufacturing building in downtown Hastings as a potential site for art-centered living – most Artspace redevelopment projects feature residential units with extra working space for artists. The idea included such live-work units as well as some commercial space and room for other activities, said Roy Close, vice president of special projects at Artspace.

But with the clock ticking for redevelopment of the site, the City of Hastings decided to move ahead with another developer that would be able to start working on the site sooner than Artspace. With that decision, Artspace no longer has any potential development in Hastings, but HPAAC wanted to continue with some market research anyway, using funds secured through a St. Paul Foundation grant.

The survey went live online at the end of May and will be available until Aug. 7. The 10- to 15-minute survey asks about residents’ interest in artists space as well as their preferred amenities. Close said that Artspace will use the results to determine how much interest there is in Hastings for affordable live-work space and how much interest there is in studio space.

Based on the results, Artspace will be able to tell HPAAC and the city how many units the current market could support, as well as financing options and other details that could influence development.

“The market for artists’ space, especially live-work space, determines all kinds of things, and the same goes for studio space,” Close said.

The study does not guarantee that a construction project will happen here, but it does a good job of setting the stage for one. The study is an important step for communities that are interested in providing spaces to artists, Close said. Artspace has done several such studies in communities with no development contracts, he said. Some do it to help spur economic development, some to keep artists from moving away and others to attract new artists. But without a study, a community can’t say exactly what kind of spaces it needs, or how many.

“This is the best way that we know to actually quantify that,” he said.

Once the study is complete, the information gathered could be used by the city for planning purposes or it could be used by any private developers interested in picking up where Artspace left off.

“This doesn’t mean that a project’s going to be done, but if a project gets done it’ll be done in a more intelligent manner,” Close said.

Once the survey closes Aug. 7, it will take about two more months for Artspace to sort through the results, interpret them and prepare for presentation.

To take the survey, go to http://hastingsrivervalleyartistsurvey.org. For more information about HPAAC, go to http://hpaac.org.

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