We turn this: Into this:
Would you like to have your insurance paid for you? Would you like to have your utilities paid for you? Would you like your storefronts painted, cleaned, and improved? Would you like to see literally hundreds of arts patrons and potential renters moving through your doors every month?
We’re Storefronts Seattle, and we can activate your retail storefront, drastically increase foot traffic, provide neighborhood safety and beautification, and market your building to creative professionals looking for commercial space.
We will put you on the map. This service is provided at no cost to you, and as soon as we’ve succeeded in renting your space, we’re gone in 30 days, leaving your space better than we found it. Think of Storefronts Seattle as a nonprofit staging service for commercial properties. In a market where 20% of retail properties sit empty and unleased, you know you need something more than a giant “For Lease” sign to make your space attractive.
Storefronts Seattle is a program of the City of Seattle, funded through multiple city departments along with various neighborhood groups, business improvement associations, and merchants’ associations. The program is designed to activate unleased retail space in the city with art and artists.
The program also supports the work of dozens of local artists, putting money, time, and real estate into the hands of some of the most accomplished, and some of the most adventurous, artists in the region. Best of all, this is all provided at no cost to the property owner.
“This innovative program is a great collaboration between our business and art communities. Storefronts Seattle shines a spotlight on Seattle’s creative sector, brings new life to empty storefronts and enlivens our neighborhood business districts.”
- Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle
How does it work?
Storefronts Seattle will sign a standard month-to-month lease with you, at a rate of $1 per month.
Storefronts will then look to its roster of over 100 approved artists and arts projects for a project that fits your space and your timeline. These projects were chosen by neighborhood representatives, museum curators, arts professionals, and our staff. The roster includes young emerging artists and seasoned world-renowned artists.
We pay your utilities, insure the project, and secure any zoning changes, business licenses, and anything else needed to operate in the space. Additionally, with each project that we produce in your space, we invest up to $250 in permanent tenant improvements.
Every two to six months, if your storefront is still for lease, we will program a new project into your space.
- Some of these will be “Installations,” where the artists creates an environment in your storefront, locks the door, and the public views it through the windows.
- Some will be “Residencies,” a sort of open-studio for artists, who work in the space creating pieces while the public watches and, depending on the situation, comes in and meets the artists.
- Some projects will be“CreativeEnterprises,”such as art galleries, or pop-up stores, or arts libraries, or educational opportunities. The Creative Enterprise projects we produce have the potential to succeed to the point of signing permanent leases for their spaces – the Pinball Museum is a perfect example of a successful transition from Storefronts to independent business.
Each time we change projects, we host an opening reception for the space and for the project, often part of a “crawl” through the neighborhood to visit all of the projects. Over the course of the three-month time period, up to a thousand people will visit your space to see the new work.
You continue to show your space to potential renters, and often the projects themselves (with regular open hours) can serve as the means of seeing the whole space.
Once you’ve secured a renter for the property, our project disappears in 30 days or less, leaving you a space cleaner, brighter, better-known and nicer than we found it.