Supporting Artists Through Affordable Housing

Calvert Foundation is pleased to announce the closure of a loan to Artspace, a national leader in developing artist-focused, non-profit affordable housing in the U.S. For the past 20 years, Artspace has developed nearly 2,000 units of affordable housing for artists and millions of square feet in non-residential community and commercial spaces across the country. Currently they manage projects in 17 states and since 2015 alone, Artspace has created 220 housing units.

Artspace will use the loan proceeds to fund predevelopment and construction costs for affordable housing developments focused on housing low-to-moderate income artists. Artspace is initally planning to use the funds on four projects, located in Dearborn, MI, Memphis, TN, Mesa, AZ, and Hawaii in a combination of affordable housing and community space projects.

There are 2,081,735 million artists in the United States, and they work at home at more than three times the rate of the total labor force. Recognizing this, Artspace was established in 1979 as an advocate for artists' space needs but by the late 1980s, the Minneapolis-based organization made the leap to affordable housing developer. The work that Artspace does is a prime example of creative placemaking, or what happens when artists and arts organizations help to shape the physical and social character of a community. Arts and cultural production represents $704 billion of the United States GDP. The presence of an art-based community space offers economic benefits, like job creation, but also contributes to quality of life through creating more vibrant and livable neighborhoods.

Here at Calvert Foundation, investment in affordable housing is a core sector of our portfolio. Through this loan, we are furthering our commitment to affordable housing while recognizing all of the ways in which artists add value and contribute to their communities.