By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — With spring not far off, the City Hall Artspace Lofts finally has its first tenants as residents moved in to the $16.5 million arts campus.
The lofts are now home to a variety of artists, including photographers, dancers, painters, sculptors and graphic designers.
Kate Sample, 25, is one of those artists who moved into her one-bedroom loft Jan. 17, and has enjoyed making the space her own.
“All the units have space for working,” she said. “It’s great that my apartment allows me space to work. I wouldn’t have that ability in an average apartment space.”
The dance teacher and choreographer was born in Dearborn before she moved to Canton Township and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to live in the historic building.
“The building is amazing,” she said. “Every day I get to walk down those beautiful spiral stairs. Then there is so much potential for creative collaboration.”
Currently, 14 artists have moved into the building. In all, the project consists of 53 apartment units made up of live-and-work space for artists and their families.
For sculptor Carl Goines, 36, and his three children, the Artspace Lofts was a good opportunity because of the space and location.
“Me and my kids love it so far,” he said about his three-bedroom loft. “The lighting, open space and architecture of the building are perfect.”
Previously living in Detroit and working for the non-profit 555 Arts, Goines had been following the project since 2010 and applied after attending an information session.
“As a creative and executive director I help convert spaces as well, on a smaller scale, so I noticed that similarity right away,” he said. “I’m very excited about the future networking opportunities with other artists.”
The project includes studios, co-working space for entrepreneurs and artists, incubator space, creative businesses, a live-and-work unit for an artist-in-residency program, and galleries for residents.
Artists have a choice of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom lofts.
Residents also receive on-site washer and dryer units, window blinds, common area gallery or exhibition space, outdoor plaza and on-site parking.
Artist Sarah Farnsworth, 22, a former Taylor resident, moved into her one-bedroom loft at the beginning of January.
As a photographer and college student, Farnsworth said what attracted her to the Artspace Lofts was the affordability and environment.
“Rent where I used to live was expensive, and as a student it wasn’t working for me,” she said. “Now I can pay for college and purchase photography equipment.”
For Farnsworth, the community and energy surrounding the Artspace project was something that resonated with her.
“There’s a happy energy I can feel walking around the area with the community coming together,” she said. “This space will give me the opportunity to expand into other art forms I’ve been wanting to explore.”
The Artspace lofts complex consists of three sections: the former City Hall building, the West Annex building and the Concourse which connects the two.
The City Hall and West Annex buildings will be used for the residential units, community room, outdoor patio and corridor art galleries.
The Concourse will provide small business incubator space, art galleries, community meeting and classroom space, office space and individual co-working studios.
Applications are still being accepted. Two information sessions and tours for interested artists will be held at the Annex Building Community Room, 4500 Maple St. at 1 p.m. Feb. 23 and 9 a.m. Feb. 24.
For more information on the project go to artspace.com/dearborn.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)Artists first to call Artspace City Lofts home