Department of Artistic License to Open in the Theater District


Since Pierce Transit moved their ticket booth on Commerce Street to Tacoma Dome Station, the space has sat vacant. Where once stood The Bus Shop and a coffee shop, now are empty commercial spaces waiting for new activity. So Pierce Transit recently partnered with Spaceworks Tacoma to activate these spaces by creating temporary artist residency sites and offer a more friendly environment for transit riders, as well as attract attention and inspire ideas about possible new uses.

This special project comes as part of TRANSFORM: Theater District Culture & Transportation Plan, which encompasses Pierce Transit’s Commerce Street Transit center with hopes to make it more inviting and better-serving commuters. In order to promote creativity and artistic expression, Spaceworks Tacoma put out calls for artists and found creative Tacomans to bring their imagination to life.

Artists Gillian Nordlund developed the idea to open a temporary Artistic License Department. She says:

“By putting art and art making into the context of a familiar and mundane environment such as a DMV style situation, the artist intends to take away some of the mysticism and intimidating feelings associated with artists and art making.”

The department will open April 8, 2018 and will be staffed by the artist, who was also one of the recipients of the 2017 GTCF Foundation of Art Awards. Gillian will host regular open hours and administer a test to gauge creative inspiration. She says there are no wrong answers:

“Do you need a license to practice art? No, but sometimes evidence that you can is encouraging.”

Upon completion of the test, the applicants will receive a personalized, laminated license that they can flash to anyone who questions their creativity.

Launch date: April 8th, 2018

Stop by during the Opening Day Event

Weekly Hours:

  • Sundays: 12pm – 5pm
  • Mondays: 12pm – 5pm

For updates, follow @artistic_license_dept On Instagram

Artist Statement:

The Artistic License Dept. exists as a service to the public. Inspired by an obvious play on words its intentions are to encourage and support participants’ creativity and imagination.

In this performance, participants take a simple test based on fundamental aspects of art making as well as their own opinions. They are then issued an art making “license” upon completion of the test.

By putting art and art making into the context of a familiar and mundane environment such as a DMV style situation, the artist intends to take away some of the mysticism and intimidating feelings associated with artists and art making. The Artistic License DEPT. intends to serve as a reminder that the ability to create is an innate human quality. Do you need a license to practice art? No, but sometimes evidence that you can is encouraging.

To learn more about other Transform projects, plan development and to leave feedback visit www.tacomatheaterdistrict.com