Spaceworks COVID-19 Response Plan

This is a living document and was last updated on May 13, 2020.

What does “training and support for artists and creative entrepreneurs” look like during a global pandemic? Under normal circumstances, this part of the Spaceworks mission is an inspiration for our programming. Today, it’s become an urgent call to action. Here are 7 ways Spaceworks is pivoting to offer new services to Tacoma’s creative community.

Time Span: March – June 2020, extending as necessary
Target Audience: Local artists, freelancers, gig economy workers, entrepreneurs, and microbusinesses (5 or fewer employees)

1. Document the Need

What does Tacoma’s creative community need to survive and recover from COVID-19? By quantifying the impacts, Spaceworks staff can adjust our programs to serve the greatest need. As a program of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, we are also well-positioned to advocate for the needs of creatives with funders and city and business leaders.

Summary of Survey Results as of April 3, 2020


2. Recommend Resources

Looking for assistance but don’t know where to start? Spaceworks staff can act as matchmakers, connecting needs to resources at the local, state, and federal levels. While Spaceworks currently does not offer its own financial assistance, we do want to help local creatives navigate the growing list of assistance programs and successfully apply for funds, as they become available. In partnership with the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, employees are actively growing their areas of expertise to include:

Michael Liang: nonprofit and overall business resources
Gabriel Brown: artist resources
Kiara Daniels: commercial rent policies and relief resources
Jennifer English: small business loans and grants


COVID-19 Business Info webinars every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11:00 am

Matrix of available financial assistance programs created by the Arts Action Fund

3. Rapid Mural Program

In response to boarded-up businesses in Tacoma, Spaceworks Tacoma has partnered with local organizations to create a rapid mural response program. These temporary murals, painted directly onto installed plywood panels, serve to 1) reduce crime and graffiti, 2) support local businesses, 3) provide income for local artists, and 4) offer civic hope and positive messaging.

Artists are commissioned at $75 per 4’x8′ panel. For businesses downtown, the Downtown Tacoma Partnership is offering these murals for free. Additional funds are available for murals in other business districts.

Request a rapid mural through our online form.

Find out more about the program at

For inquiries about the program, please contact

4. Amplify Creative Efforts

These next few months will see unprecedented disruption but also a period of collective innovation and creativity. Already, we’re seeing businesses experiment with strategies that don’t rely on face-to-face interactions. To learn from these successes, Spaceworks will use its digital platforms (Facebook, Instagram, newsletter) to highlight local creatives.

Got a story to share? Send a note to

5. Connect Our Community

Weeks of social distancing will continue to challenge our need for human connection. Spaceworks will expand its alumni discussion group to create a series of weekly virtual happy hours. These will be an informal place to check-in, commiserate, problem-solve, and inspire.

Want to join? Reach out to

6. Build a Creative Business Directory

Calling all graphic designers, web designers, visual artists, writers, sign makers, consultants, and others who can work from home. Are you able to work remotely and still take on new clients? We’ve received a number of requests for creative services, from sandwich board signs for restaurants to new artwork for the home. We’ve always wanted to organize our alumni and other creatives into a directory and COVID-19 presents an urgent need to make this happen.

If you have something to offer and would like to be listed, send us a note to

7. Keep the Cash Flow Going

Each year, Spaceworks needs to raise more than $500,000 to support its programs. While we have some contracts in place this spring, with the delay of our annual fundraiser and other lost revenue, we’re anticipating a funding gap of $9,000 each month. 

Want to support our COVID-19 work? Consider a donation at:

If you want to sponsor or contract us to continue this work, contact

Summary of Changes to Spaceworks Programming

  • Staff are all working from home, mostly available M-F, 9-5
  • 950 Gallery closed. Current exhibition will be extended by 2 months
  • Annual fundraiser, CACHET, postponed to summer
  • Increasing one-on-one support to help people find resources
  • Increasing social media and digital content
  • Starting virtual meet-ups
  • Documenting and advocating for the needs of Tacoma’s creatives