community · creativity · Social

Storefront Seattle: taking art to the street (window)

Before and After example of Storefronts Seattle project.

With the down economy a lot of stores and businesses have gone out of business, leaving a lot of empty store fronts, at least in places around Seattle. But rather than let those places stay dark and dormant, one woman is spearheading an effort to get local Seattle artist’s work installed in these vacant storefronts:

Storefronts debuted in late 2010 as an experiment in activating vacant spaces with art, creative enterprise, and performance… We also revitalize neighborhoods. And we beautify blocks. And we make areas safer at night, and we market real estate, and we paint walls and mop floors and install lighting and turn desolate half-empty blocks into the hippest, happiest, and hottest real estate in town.

Storefronts Seattle leases storefront space from neighborhood property owners for the nominal rate of $1 per month. We can program up to 15 storefronts in any given neighborhood at any given time, and we fill these spaces with art installations, with creative businesses, and with artist’s studios. These projects are proposed by artists throughout the region, and are chosen by a panel that includes neighborhood representatives, local museum curators, arts professionals, and our programming staff.

At full integration into a neighborhood, Storefronts Seattle is programming up to 60 arts installations per year into your spaces. That’s enough to instantly turn any neighborhood into a walking destination, an arts and culture destination, and a shopping destination. It’s enough to generate regional press. It’s enough to get the city’s creative class and cultural leaders to pay attention.

More at Storefronts Seattle

This is a great project where everyone benefits: property managers get free positive attention for their site, artists get their work exposed, and normal people get to benefit from the art for free!

It also involves a lot of local Seattle neighborhood organizations, bringing attention and buy-in from various communities around Seattle. There are quite a few installations in place right now through May.

What a great opportunity to improve and enrich everyone’s environment. Know of other groups out there taking advantage of empty spaces like these in other cities? Share them in the comments below!