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In a project led by Washington, DC’s respected Director of Planning Harriet Tregoning, the City is revitalizing emerging creative neighborhoods by transforming vacant or underused storefronts and empty lots into Arts & Culture Temporiums, showcasing artists and culture villages for periods of three to six months.

The DC Office of Planning took part of its ArtPlace grant for a different project entirely, working with the Cultural Development Corporation of D.C. (CuDC) to develop “DC Space Finder”, a resource for artists.

Ilana Branda, Housing and Community Development Program Manager, talks about the project:

After a year of working with our partners, CuDC is excited to share DC Space Finder with the public. So what is DC Space Finder? DC Space Finder is the place to list you creative space in the DC metro area. It is the site to go to find the perfect space to rehearse, teach, create and present your artistic work. All for free! The software is customized to answer the creative community’s most pressing questions when searching for space –cost, ceiling height, available equipment and more. Liked the space? Users can upload reviews, save their searches and highlight favorite spaces to streamline the process in the future. And spaces – what’s in it for them? More opportunities to generate earned income, increased visibility and being included in the count as one of DC’s creative spaces.

After just the first week of going live, we’re already starting to see the impact of DC Space Finder. As one artist said, “YOU ROCK! It is every musician, singer, thespian’s dream to be able to quickly search for a space to rehearse or perfect their craft. Thank you very much.” During the first week there were nearly 800 unique visitors to the site, over 40 registered users and 12 new spaces added (on top of the pre-launch outreach). And more is coming! Over the next year we’ll be releasing a purchase/lease module to accommodate longer-term use (two months plus), more enhanced search criteria specific to the visual arts and film industries and an online rental reservation tool.

Why DC Space Finder? At CuDC we make space for art. We believe that creating space is critical to increasing artistic opportunities. DC Space Finder is one component of connecting the creative community in need of space to available spaces throughout the metro area. Establishing these connections is key to supporting the area’s creative community. It allows the creative community to activate art spaces more frequently and bring creative uses to non-traditional spaces. These connections also promote creative placemaking by providing new venues for creative activities. DC Space Finder will help ensure that the initial ArtPlace grant investment will have an impact in the District that goes beyond the Arts and Culture Temporiums

CuDC is grateful to our partners for enabling DC Space Finder to go from the vision we’ve harbored to the actual site you see now. Thanks to the District of Columbia’s Office of Planning for their financial support, through their ArtPlace grant and to Fractured Atlas for selecting us as a partner and handling the software and maintenance components of the site. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in establishing DC Space Finder as the go-to site for the DC metro area creative community to find space to make their own art.

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