We reached out to individual artists and artist’s families, entrepreneurs and arts organizations who would be interested in locating to Dearborn into an Artspace live/work, multi-use or other arts facility development. We were certainly enthused with the overwhelming response of support for a project such as this.

The East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority (EDDDA), in partnership with the City of Dearborn, is exploring a new and creative approach to a potential economic development project with Artspace, the nation’s leading nonprofit real estate developer for the arts. The Artspace mission is to create, foster and preserve affordable space that serves the needs of artists and arts organizations of all disciplines; see artspace.org. These activities contribute to the continued growth of the arts community thus enhancing the cultural and economic vitality of the surrounding community. This results in these nationwide projects being community driven.

Artspace was in Dearborn June 22 and 23, 2010 to begin the process of building community support for the creation of affordable space for artists, arts organizations and nonprofit organizations — creative businesses, if you will. They explored five areas of consideration: project concept, artist market need, site suitability, potential to fund and sustain a project and local leadership. A public meeting was held to determine community support and inform the public of Artspace’s work. The Prefeasibility Visit is the first step in the process that can lead to an Artspace project.

One of the outcomes of their recommendations is to conduct a survey of the space needs of artists in our community and in the surrounding communities.  We sought out a 50-mile radius around Dearborn to collect the names and email addresses of as many artists as possible.  The reason we contacted artists outside of Dearborn was to more fully understand how many artists are interested in space and if they would move to Dearborn if affordable space were accessible here.

The survey will provide us with statistical information including such things as: artist housing needs, affordability ranges, rental vs. ownership preferences, artist studio-only needs, location preferences, design requirements based on household sizes and arts disciplines, and arts organization space needs. This survey will be conducted by Artspace.

Community involvement from all sectors: financial, civic, arts and culture are all part of the mix that leads to a successful project!

We’ve now proven Dearborn has a deep rooted and well established arts and cultural community with many existing cultural resources and with our distinct and vibrant marketplace of people, food and cultures as well as the $70 million mixed use development under construction at Michigan and Schaefer, the EDDDA is well positioned to support an innovative and creative project such as the proposed Artspace.

All of our lives are touched by art; look around and see the greatness it fills our lives. Let’s build and be a part of an environment that will create more art, let’s enrich the community we are in to touch more people through what artists do.


Contact the EDDDA office at 313-943-3141 for more info.

Partners include the City of Dearborn, Dearborn Community Fund and the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce.