Glendale looking at arts incubator for downtown

The former St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift shop in downtown Glendale. [Google]

By Cecilia Chan
Independent Newsmedia

Glendale is exploring the possibility of converting a city-owned building into an arts incubator that would cultivate artists and help with its efforts to revitalize its aging downtown.

The city is eyeing for the incubator the former St. Vincent de Paul Thrift shop building at 7018 N. 57th Ave. that it purchased in 2009 for $737,398. In June, staff sent out a request for information with a July 21 deadline.

“We are at the information gathering stage to see about the viability of an arts incubator concept before even embarking on considerations for building improvements prior to potentially issuing an official request for proposal for operations of such a facility,” said Mojgan Vahabzadeh, Arts and Culture Program manager. “This project concept was presented to the Arts Commission earlier in fiscal year 2017. They unanimously recommended that we look into the viability of such a concept.”

Ms. Vahabzadeh said there is no budget set yet for the project.

The building is located in Glendale’s Centerline District, located along Glendale Avenue from 43rd to 67th avenues, between Ocotillo Road and Myrtle Avenue. The city is trying to attract business investments, shopping, dining and recreational opportunities to the area. Recently, the city inked a contract for a downtown manager to develop strategic priorities for the area.

The city is asking qualifi ed respondents to provide feedback to help it develop the incubator concept and to see if any building improvements is needed to transform the 7,000-squarefoot facility into an arts and culture hub for downtown.

According to the city, the overarching goal is to create a welcoming space for the community to experience the arts and to engage and interact with artists.

Visitors would be able to interact with artists working in the facility, view art shows, tour the facility, attend promotional events and participate in public events.

The city plans to review the submissions to determine the viability of completing the necessary building improvements in order to move forward with the Arts Incubator Space project.

The city envisions the incubator would serve as a platform for established and emerging local artists, as well as national and international artists through artist residencies.

If the project moves forward, Glendale would then seek an independent organization to manage and operate the facility. The operator would be expected to offer the following:

• Affordable and adaptable artist studio workspaces to support the creation of art in a variety of forms such as glass blowing, stained glass, ceramics, painting and sculpture

• Art gallery and retail space

• Event-based coffee bar or beer/wine bar

• Multipurpose room for meetings, workshops, classrooms, film-screenings, and/or musical/theatrical performances

• Serve as an arts and cultural educational resource for K-12 local schools in Glendale

• Serve as an arts and cultural educational resource for the community

• Grow programming through partnerships with local schools and/or colleges

• Grow attendance, public patronage and participation through partnerships with the Glendale Public Library.

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