Special Projects

Spaceworks provides opportunities to artists and creative entrepreneurs to produce unique, short-term events and installations in unique spaces around Tacoma. These opportunities become available to Spaceworks at unpredictable and random moments in time. Past projects have included a one-night-only art exhibit, a month-long theatrical residency, a three-month occupation for a band’s album recording, and a six-month artist residency.

China Lake Juxto by Matthew Olds -– Installation View at 1120 Pacific Avenue, 1st floor, May 2015
China Lake Juxto by Matthew Olds -– Installation View at 1120 Pacific Avenue, 1st floor, May 2015










Featured Special Projects

Spaceworks Interactive Pride Art Project with Saiyare Refaei
Saiyare Refaei

Spaceworks partnered with Tacoma Rainbow Center and Artscapes 2017 artist Saiyare Refaei to create a fun, visual art project for the whole community to participate. 


War Experience Project
Rick Lawson

Iraq veteran and artist Rick Lawson conceived this project to help military service members dealing with memories of war.


Barefoot Collective: Dance
Barefoot Collective

The Barefoot Collective (tBFC) is a local dance company who, since 2008, have earned praise for their original, contemporary works of power and passion.


Personal Power Company
Kris Crews

The Personal Power Company was a multimedia production company and think tank designed around the idea that creativity is a sustainable resource.


Dakota’s Belly, Wyoming
Toy Boat Theatre

Theater pros Marilyn Bennett, Jen Davis and Alex Smith joined forces with the University of Puget Sound to develop Dakota’s Belly, Wyoming, a play by Erin Cressida Wilson, in this performance space on Tacoma’s Hilltop.


Live Paint Theatre Workshop
Cindy Arnold

Live Paint offered theater workshops for adults every Sat., 1-3pm, free of charge at her MLK Way space. Arnold promises a relaxed environment for actors wanting to read for an audience or to perform improv, dancers looking to bounce around ideas, and writers seeking feedback on scripts in progress.  


Jason Ganwich Photography
Jason Ganwich

Jason Ganwich is a local photographer and videographer with an established photography business, specializing in corporate events, weddings, fundraisers, and editorial shoots.


Local Color Photography Studio
Abby Kok

Local Color Photography is a mixture of creative art photography as well as local client-driven work such as product and model photography.


Entertain U
Aaron Flett 

Competing Christian bookstores fight for the soul of a town (that looks suspiciously like Tacoma ) in the Entertain U satire, Jesus 4 Less.


Joshua Everson Photography
Joshua Everson

For Spaceworks, photographer Joshua Everson is taking “dynamic portraits” of Tacomans on location and assembling them in the window of his downtown studio over two months’ time.


Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Theater Company
Kristie Worthey 

This traveling troupe of performers aspired, through the magic of imagination and innovation, to inspire and excite audiences of all ages to engage with the works of William Shakespeare.


Michael Kaniecki

Michael is using his space to create a very long drawing in shades of gray. His work will be in the window as it progresses and you can often see the artist at work.


Maggie D Studios
Meghan Lancaster

Watch how a site-specific work of art comes into being as fiber and textile artist Meghan Lancaster works in her “fishbowl studio” on Broadway.


Schnelluloid Film, Inc.
Isaac Olsen

Filmmaker Isaac Olsen’s full-length feature, Quiet Shoes, made its world premiere at the Rialto Theater in June.


4th Wall Theater
Bob Yount

When local actor/director Bob Yount crafted the idea for an upcoming Spaceworks Tacoma project, 4th Wall Theater, he energized the grand idea of theater as a social act. 4th Wall Theater was conceived for fans of the stage who may be unable or unwilling to travel distances to theater events.


Landscapes Painter
Saul Becker

“Travel and expeditions have become very important in my work, and it’s always tricky to talk about what that means specifically,” says Saul Becker. The geography of Becker’s painting ranges from hellish, primordial landscapes to the slag-littered Ruston waterfront. 


Chris Sharp and Jeremy Gregory

Two of T-town’s most accomplished artists, Chris Sharp and Jeremy Gregory, are setting to work on Broadway.


The Coma Collective / Music Collective
The Coma Collective

The Coma Collective pulls together several young, local bands into one space to practice, record, and produce their work in a collaborative way. Resident bands include Red Hex, Slushy, and Makeup Monsters.


James Grayson Sinding’s letters on Tollefson Plaza
James Grayson Sinding

James Sinding’s word-based installations jubilantly proclaim the durability (at least in physical terms) of the written word.



Goldfinch is looking for a space to record a new record. It has been four years since our last full-length record was released and we have a lot of new material that we’d like to get out to our friends, family and fans,” declares lead singer, Aaron Stevens.


The Dancescapes Project
Dana Livermore

The Dancescapes Project, in partnership with Spaceworks Tacoma and The Barefoot Collective, invited dance teachers and professionals to submit class and work proposals for their free community dance workshop, which took place in downtown Tacoma in August 2012.


Scott Scoggin

WHEW! A one night only pop up gallery in the Old Post Office. Scott’s posters will remain on display in the lobby through December 19th, 2013


Culture Looming
Priscilla Dobbler

2013 Artscapes participant Priscilla Dobbler invited passersby into her Woolworth window #1 installation Culture Looming, for a special five-night performance.


Working Class Theater Northwest
Christina Hughes

Working Class Theater NW (WCTNW) had a one-month residency in The Post Office Building, on the 4th floor courtroom in November 2013. WCTNW was founded in 2013 by Christina Hughes and Tim Samland.


Kristin Giordano / Photography Studio
Kristin Giordano

Kristin Giordano is a photographer based in the US. She works mainly with antique and experimental cameras.


Tim + April Pop Up Shop
Tim and April Norris

Artistic duo Tim and April Norris’ one night only Tim + April Pop-Up Shop was part of Spaceworks’ REVIVE Collective grand opening on December 18. 


Whitney Henry-Lester / Destiny and Grit Podcast
Destiny & Grit

Destiny & Grit is an audio series exploring the highs & lows and whys & hows and hot & colds and streets & trails of Tacoma, WA. 


SOTA / Organism-X

For the April Third Thursday Art Walk at 1120 Creative House, the School of the Arts (SOTA) presented Organism-X, a series of 8 intricate drawings based upon a project given in Biology classes.


China Lake Juxto – Installation View
Matthew Olds

In this one-night-exhibit, artist Matthew Olds utilized a vast cavernous interior office space that had been sitting vacant for years. 


Gerardo Peña

A brightly colored 20 foot piñata at the heart of People’s Park during the Hilltop Street Fair was an unexpected attraction drawing children of all ages to reimagine public space.

Unity in the Community
Gwen Jones

Gwen Jones does neighborhood canvassing and one-on-one interviews asking folks about their relationship to Hilltop and their visions for the future of the community.

The Reintroduction of BAD
Whitney Brady

A combination of flash-mob style awareness building and neighborhood canvassing, Whitney Brady’s grassroots campaign uses the element of surprise to generate dialogue with neighborhood residents who may not be aware of the impact the link light rail will have on the MLK streetscape.

MLK Dreams in the Cold
Matamatanonofo Porter

Matamatanonofo uses impromptu interviews to gain insight about the streetscape through the eyes of people experiencing homelessness. She offers creatively crafted care packages to people who have an interest in sharing their experiences or ideas about the future of the Hilltop streetscape.

The Last Supper
Tiffanny Hammonds

Tiffanny Hammonds conducts a series of in depth interviews with elders in the neighborhoods church going community. Her project ‘The Last Supper’ provides meals and groceries to respondents in exchange for their feedback on their visions for Hilltop streetscape.

Hilltop Hoodwitch
Jasmine Brown

Equipped with a divination board alongside a myriad props and antique serums, Jasmine Brown’s Hilltop Hoodwitch project probes the fears of gentrification to better understand the challenges Hilltop locals are experiencing and gain insights into their magical solutions.

Glaciers of Wisdom
Brian Robinson

Brian Robinson produced a short film based on interviews with elders in the neighborhood about their experiences navigating the streetscape and what functions would make the neighborhood most accessible and welcoming to them.

Pyramid Construction Co.
Dion Thomas

With the driving question “What would you like the Hilltop to look like in 2000 years?” Dion Thomas’ imaginary contracting company creates pop-up construction sites to captivate the imagination.

Fill In the Blanks
Dionne Bonner

Dionne Bonner’s brightly colored chalkboard signs seek direct community input on the Hilltop streetscape.

Links to Opportunity – Hilltop Engagement Projects
Spaceworks Tacoma

Spaceworks Tacoma, working with the City of Tacoma, contracted community engagement specialists to engage Hilltop neighbors through pop-up outreach events. (more…)

Destiny of Pride – Community Mural
Matamatononofo Porter

Destiny of Pride echoes the theme of 2018’s Tacoma Pride Festival. Matamatanonofo designed a temporary mural made up of different people, of a variety of cultures and sexes collated into a single face.  Spaceworks invited the community to participate in this art wall installed at the festival for one day only. Visitors used paint markers to add their own art and messages. Over 450 people participated.


TRANSFORM: Theater District Culture & Transportation Plan
Spaceworks Tacoma

TRANSFORM is a community engagement project, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, that aims to raise awareness of Tacoma’s Theater District and to highlight opportunities for creative use of public spaces within its footprint. Pierce Transit, City of Tacoma, and Tacoma Arts Live are developing a plan to redesign the transportation and cultural hub that is framed by 9th and 11th streets, Broadway and Pacific Ave.

Project Intent & Vision

The Theater District Placemaking project presents an enormous opportunity to strengthen one of Tacoma’s oldest neighborhoods. The Project Partners (Pierce Transit, the City of Tacoma, and Tacoma Arts Live) share a vision for a more robust and active downtown: a place where arts, cultural and civic events are available to residents, workers and visitors. This planning project builds on the neighborhood’s existing assets and identifies potential synergies between them. The plan also identifies new opportunities to create a stronger sense of place.

Public Space Framework

The Tacoma Theater District is approximately 16 blocks in area, bounded on the south by 11th Street and the north by 7th Street. In the east-west direction, the District rises steeply from Pacific Avenue up the hill to Market Street. It includes multiple performing arts venues, beautiful historic buildings such as Old City Hall and the Pantages Theater, Broadway and the well-attended weekly Farmer’s Market, and Commerce Street, a regional transportation corridor for buses and light rail. This plan includes a public space framework that encompasses this entire area, with a wide range of ideas aimed at making the district feel more active and vibrant, improving access on nights and weekends, making it easier to get around, improving the sense of safety, providing amenities, events and programming for all ages, and supporting the people and businesses who are already here.

Click here to view the entire plan
(43 page PDF)

The following images were taken during numerous Transform community engagement events that took place in 2018 and 2019 throughout Tacoma’s theater district. The events were free to the public, featured local performers, and offered education about the Transform project with opportunities for public input.   

Featured Events 

Center for Lost and Found
Gabe Nordlund & Colin Andersen

The Center for the Lost and Found is a place to share stories of lost or found objects and spread them into the community. Come create your very own lost or found poster and the CLF artists will post them around town, to foster remembrance for those things we miss and are grateful for. (more…)

Artistic License Department
Gillian Nordlund

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. (more…)

One Night Exhibition
Katlyn Hubner

A one-night show of over 40 paintings by Katlyn Hubner during the June 2015 Third Thursday Art Walk at the 1120 Pacific Ave Building. (more…)

The Ides of May
Barefoot Collective

915 Pacific Avenue :: March 1 – May 31, 2011
The Barefoot Collective (tBFC) is a Tacoma dance company who, since 2008, have earned praise for their original, contemporary works of power and passion. tBFC received a three-month Spaceworks Tacoma creative residency that supported the completion of a major performance piece, The Ides of May. The studio also held community auditions and offered dance instruction to students of all levels at their 915 Pacific Avenue rehearsal space.

James Grayson Sinding

1114 Pacific Avenue

March 1 – August 6, 2011

James Sinding’s word-based installations jubilantly proclaim the durability (at least in physical terms) of the written word. In 2010 he dumped thousands of alphabet letters in Tollefson Plaza for his wildly popular Spaceworks Tacoma installation, Letters. In 2011, he riffed on the concept with a project involving whole words and phrases.