City of Dallas launches online marketplace to match artists, community groups, organizations to creative spaces

Spacefinder
The Black Box Theater at Pleasant Grove Branch Library is listed on Spacefinder Dallas. – Photo courtesy of Spacefinder Dallas

 

Special to The Dallas Examiner

 

The City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture has launched Spacefinder Dallas, an online rental database that helps artists, community groups and cultural organizations find affordable rental venues for arts and cultural events or services. The marketplace addresses the inaccessibility of creative spaces across the city needed to make and present art.

“Given the challenges of the pandemic, finding safe and accessible spaces for artists is even more of a challenge, and Spacefinder is here to assist. It will help activate our venues – with a new focus on outside options – as our community begins to recover,” said Director of the Office of Arts and Culture Jennifer Scripps.

In the 2018 Dallas Cultural Plan, “space” was one of the top priorities citywide for artists and organizations. Space owners do not always have connections to the artist community or understand the creative events, services and opportunities that artists can provide. Through the marketplace’s website, OAC works to increase the visibility of space options, help artists, organizations and community groups find the space they need and promote local venues.

The idea to implement online database came from a similar project in Seattle. In April of 2018, Randy Engstrom, the Director of the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture, presented Spacefinder Seattle at the Dallas Arts Month’s Arts Advocacy Day. The project quickly emerged as a priority initiative. By 2019, the Dallas version was developed into an official website, and in late 2019, OAC staff worked to populate the website with diverse locations across the city.

“SpaceFinder Dallas is extremely beneficial to venues located outside the traditional art scene in the Design and Arts Districts,” said Joseph Yey, co-director of the Goldmark Cultural Center. “Through Spacefinder Dallas’s comprehensive and easily searchable database, Dallas area artists are now discovering those spaces and bringing art resources and cultural events to the outlying districts of the city.”

With 2018’s OAC Cultural Plan highlighting the historical lack of equity and access to space in the Dallas cultural arts scene, OAC understood that online marketplace would be an actionable step towards supporting a sustainable arts ecosystem. This website will bridge the gap between inequities of accessibility and connect organizations, community groups and artists to Dallas spaces.

“As a Latino performing arts group, being able to use the Latino Cultural Center plaza has really helped us continue to offer classes for our students,” said Pedro Perez, founder and director of Alegre Ballet Folklórico. “OAC’s Spacefinder helps organizations like ours find non-traditional art spaces within our city, especially during these difficult times.”

For more information, to find a venue or add a venue, visit https://www.spacefinderdallas.com.

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