Our History

“Regarding the Discarded” a 2019 art installation in the Woolworth Windows, by Mizzonk, an artist duo of Wan-Yi Lin and Roger Chen. Directly across the street is the Commerce Building, where Spaceworks’ main office, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, and the 950 Gallery are located.

ʔuk’ʷədiitəb ʔuhigʷətəb čəɫ txʷəl tiiɫ ʔa čəɫ ʔal tə swatxʷixʷtxʷəd ʔə tiiɫ puyaləpabš dxʷəsɫaɫlils gʷəl ʔutxʷəlšucidəbs həlgʷəʔ.

We gratefully acknowledge that we rest on the traditional lands of the Puyallup People where they make their home and speak the Lushootseed language.

Spaceworks Tacoma was launched in 2010 as a joint initiative of the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber to approach community transformation and small business development in a new way. As an answer to Tacoma’s chronically vacant downtown storefronts, the City and Chamber envisioned creative business, events and art installations creating visitor destinations and driving new consumers into underutilized areas.

What began as an effort to provide infill and interest to Tacoma’s streetscapes has evolved into a decentralized business incubator and anchor for the creative class in downtown and beyond.

Since launching in June 2010, Spaceworks has worked with over 400 artists and creative individuals and organizations in at least 50 sites around Tacoma:

  • Provided training and technical assistance to 125 creative businesses, a total of 166 creative entrepreneurs
  • Helped launch 66 creative businesses into community storefronts and vacant commercial spaces
  • Presented 175 art installations (streetside installations and murals)
  • Coordinated 55 Special Projects (pop-up shops and exhibitions, residencies and beyond)
  • Supported 56 alumni Creative Enterprises that continue on as lease-paying tenants
  • Exhibited 12 gallery shows involving 132 artists/curators, and over 45 performers/speakers at the 950 Gallery, with 3,549 visitors since opening in June 2016
  • Supported 500+ events/performances
  • Activated over 50,000 square feet of vacant space
  • Inspired over 207 media features, including segments on King5 News and South Sound Talk

Spaceworks 5-year Strategic Plan

Download PDF here