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DEADLINE:  FEBRUARY 21, 2014, 10:00 PM Pacific Standard Time 


In 2010, an innovative consortium of city and neighborhood organizations inaugurated the Storefronts program in Seattle’s Pioneer Square and International District neighborhoods. The initiative sought to address high vacancy rates in these neighborhoods by activating empty storefronts with vibrant local art and creative projects.

Storefronts, now a core program of Shunpike, continues to support our creative community and our urban neighborhoods and businesses by providing opportunities for artists to do what they do best – create dynamic, engaging works that reach out to passersby, add life and color to our environment, and function as an incubator for entrepreneurial projects and urban revitalization.

Shunpike’s mission fuels innovation in the arts by building productive partnerships, cultivating leadership, and providing direct services to arts groups of all kinds. Shunpike provides assistance in areas such as fundraising and strategic planning at a time when many arts groups need that support more than ever before. We provide groups with back-office services that strengthen their day-to-day operations, while also offering strategic guidance to lead them toward their long-term goals.

In support of this mission, the Storefronts program accepts proposals to activate underutilized urban spaces for specific short-term, rent-free art installations and creative enterprise opportunities.  We support two program Rosters:  Installations and Creative Enterprises. 

 The Installation Roster

The Installation Roster provides temporary no-cost storefront rent for installation of 2-D or 3-D artwork in a locked storefront for a period of up to three months.

  • $500 stipend
  • No additional funding for travel or accommodation.
  • The storefront remains locked and viewable only through the windows for the duration of the installation (i.e. no public access for openings inside the space).
  • All materials and consumables for installation are the responsibility of the artist.
  • Shunpike pays for reasonable utilities and general liability insurance.
  • Shunpike provides guidance about insurance and installation support as needed. 

The Creative Enterprise Roster

The Creative Enterprise Roster provides temporary no-cost storefront rent for 3-6 month experimental or entrepreneurial creative projects with significant public engagement, such as pop-up galleries, boutiques, or interactive public projects.

  • No stipend is provided, with no additional funding for travel or accommodation.
  •  The project must be in accordance with all State and local laws.
  • Regular weekly business hours are strongly encouraged.
  • All materials, consumables, insurance, utilities and licensing are at the cost of the project.
  • Business income such as retail and ticket sales remains the sole property of the Creative Enterprise project.
  • Shunpike provides guidance about insurance, licensing, and lease negotiation as needed.
  • Examples of possible Creative Enterprise uses:
    • Museums or galleries
    • Pop-up entrepreneurial efforts with a creative emphasis
    • Experiential, conceptual projects or performances open to the public on a regular basis (i.e. not a private office or studio)


As Shunpike partners with various properties, dependent upon availability, the storefronts available are incredibly diverse.  The following are examples of the kinds of properties that have been part of the program.   We cannot guarantee any particular property, neighborhood, or location.

  • Display-only windows 16″ deep, with track lighting, accessed through flowerbeds.
  • Raw new construction with unpainted drywall and metal beams, no heat or bathroom access, and 30’ ceilings.
  • Vacant older buildings with limited power slated for renovation or demolition.
  • Nicely finished retail-ready storefronts in construction zones with heat, bathroom, sink, and a kitchenette.
  • Underutilized windows in buildings with commercial tenants.

Successful roster projects can adapt to a variety of spaces and communities dependent upon what is available.  Be clear about proposal requirements, as well as understanding that if they are too specific this reduces the chances of being placed in a timely fashion.   Shunpike will offer placement to artists with the best match of available resources, at Shunpike’s sole discretion.

All projects will be subtenants of Shunpike, and all subtenants will be subject to the terms and conditions of Shunpike’s master lease with the applicable property owner.


  • Residents of Washington State over 18 years of age
  • Individual artists and groups creating original works and entrepreneurial endeavors
  • Proposals must be G-rated and suitable for all audiences
  • Proposals must be in accordance with State and local laws
  • One application per artist or artist group


Compelling - artistically strong in concept and execution, compelling to a diverse audience, and actively seeking to engage with the public.

Viable - agile, adaptive, innovative,  and achievable with the resources, funds, and spaces available.

Relevant – responsive to and engaging with diverse audiences, themes, neighborhoods, and landscapes.

Examples of successful projects:

  • Massive Monkees (Creative Enterprise) – A hip-hop dance school that is now a thriving independent business.
  • Interstitial Theatre (Creative Enterprise) – A pop-up video and new media gallery
  • Seattle Pinball Museum (Creative Enterprise) – A pinball museum and arcade that is now an independent business featured on ABC News.
  • Ryan Eversen (Installation) – Somewhere Out There
  • Karen de Luna (Installation) – Ning Ning
  • Jennifer Zwick (Installation) – I’m Pretty Sure This is Exactly Right


Storefronts panelists are made up of professional artists and arts administrators, local business owners, real estate professionals, and community advocates.  The panel will review Storefronts proposals and approve an artist roster based on relevance, viability, and creative merit.


Link to CaFe instructions and application form.

Materials required for submission:

  • $25 non-refundable application fee
  • Artist Statement, 400 words or less, formatted as text
  • 4-6 work samples with related work list, formatted as text
  • Project Proposal, formatted as text, including:
    • Brief conceptual statement, 200 words or less
    • Technical and space requirements – be specific regarding power/heat/light/water/etc.
    • Budget and source of funding
    • Timeline required to prepare your project– 2 months or less is preferred
    • Mock-up, sketch, or detailed written description of the project in a hypothetical space
    • Please be concise, use direct language, and be specific about what will be experienced in the storefront space.  Our panelists come from many different professional backgrounds, and art jargon is best avoided.



http://storefrontsseattle.com/opportunities/  Contact:  storefronts@shunpike.org
206-905-1026 x104

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