Today we’re exploring Ship Creek’s newest business: Anchorage Community Works. The Ship Creek area is mostly known for its fish and trains, but this group is hoping they can expand that. Anchorage Community Works was founded by four friends who decided to renovate an old warehouse off Ship Creek Road for their building. Brooklyn Baggett is one of those founders.
“I’ve been really interested in having a space to do art and music, Paul’s been interested in shared workspace, Cody has been interested in having a space to do bicycle events and workshops, and Craig is a local artist and he has an immense amount of really great gear for print making and screen printing and he’s been looking for a place to set that up for a print shop,” says Baggett.
The plan is for the building to be a shared workspace for local artists. Co-founder Paul Clark says the first way the public can get involved with the new space is simply by showing up to events like concerts, film screenings and first Friday art showings.
“The second way that people can get involved is through membership. So, if somebody has something that they can contribute to the community like if you play the guitar and are part of a band, you can sign up for your band to be members of the space. You can practice here, you can throw concerts here, and you can have events that people can come to,” says Clark.
Membership rates will run from $100 to $200 a month. The building will offer all kinds of amenities, including a few you might not expect to find in a warehouse.
“We’ll also be building a kitchen in this space for our private members to be able to have access to. So when we’ve got people working upstairs or painting all day long they can come and make a grilled cheese sandwich or something,” says Baggett.
Although the space will be used for many of the different arts, Clark says there are also areas designated for meetings and conferences, fully equipped with computers, desks and projectors.
“This is our loft for people who want to work together. We’ll have desks and computer spaces for people to use, and a gas fireplace. We call it the nerd zone, the command center, because we have a large desk overlooking the whole area,” say Clark.
Baggett says much of the equipment, like the screen printers and etching press will be available for people to check out individually, but members should expect to see all kinds of groups in the warehouse at once.
“There might be someone painting, while there’s also someone practicing dance, while there’s also someone upstairs working on the computer. The only times when we’ll probably try to limit the people coming in and out when someone else is using the space is when there is a band practicing or something,” says Baggett.
Right now Anchorage Community Works is in the midst of their fundraising which they’re doing through Kickstarter. The campaign ends on Friday, but Baggett and Clark say they hit their goal of $10,000 before the fundraising was even halfway over.
“It’s one thing to have an idea and have something that you want to do and put the idea out there, but it’s an entirely different thing to see the community really come around a project like they have,” says Clark.
“We set a low minimum just because we wanted to make sure we could get it and we wanted to test out and see how the community support was,” says Baggett.
And, although it might seem a little crazy to start a new business near Ship Creek right now, the group may have perfect timing. Earlier this year Mayor Sullivan and the legislature approved a $4,000,000 revitalization project for the Ship Creek area.
“We’re kind of hoping that part of that revitalization will include the arts, shared workspace, music, and kind of the more cultural side of Anchorage to be included,” says Baggett.
Regardless of the districts larger future, the group is excited to get their operation up and running this summer. Baggett says there’s plenty to look forward to, but the thing that she’s most thrilled about isn’t the individual projects that will be going on every day. It’s the networking and growth of the community that she’ll get to watch.
“I think it will be really interesting to see what happens when the computer programmer and the dancer and the screen printer sit down to have a cup of coffee and just kind of bounce ideas off each other. I think that’s going to be a really fun component to it,” says Baggett.