St. Louis Art Place Initiative Opens Applications for Next Round of Affordable Housing for Local Artists in Gravois Park
St. Louis Art Place Initiative (API), an organization that builds wealth and equity for low-to-moderate income local artists through home ownership, is opening the application process for its next round of affordable housing in the Gravois Park neighborhood of St. Louis. Since its founding in 2019 through a partnership with Incarnate Word Foundation, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, and the Regional Arts Commission, API has completed construction of two of 18 total planned houses with five more in progress. The application, opening July 15 and closing August 18, is for the last of those five.
The application process is open to artists across all mediums and is not judged on artistic merit, but on showing an artistic practice. The application is partially scored in the three main categories of: artistic practice, housing insecurity and neighborhood connectedness with preference given to individuals with a history in Gravois Park and who have experienced housing insecurity. The Top 5 scores will go into a lottery of finalists, with a single awardee selected in this round. In future rounds, API will have one application and include each house that will be completed the subsequent year.
“We felt that our first two homes were our proof of concept. Building on that success, we have incredible momentum and are excited to ramp up our pace and continue to share what community-led arts-based community development can look like.”, said Kaveh Razani, Co-Director of API.
The selected artists will only need to provide $1000 down, with API subsidizing the remaining down payment. The monthly mortgage is estimated around $750 (depending on interest rates) plus insurance.
API’s primary project partner, Habitat for Humanity St. Louis (HFHSL) will help review applications and conduct first time home buyer training. Finalists will work with Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA) to get their taxes prepped and financials compiled.
API has worked with its chief community partner, Dutchtown South Development Corporation (DSCC), as well as neighbors and other stakeholders to create a Community Land Trust (CLT) that will facilitate the resale of these homes to ensure that the mission to serve low-to-moderate income artists is upheld in perpetuity. Additionally, the CLT manages public green spaces and other community assets for the benefit of the Gravois Park community.
Applications will be accepted at stlartplace.org starting July 15th. API will officially launch the application at the Laz Jazz Fest at The Grandel on Saturday, July 15. All proceeds from the concert event will benefit API. Visit the website or email email@example.com for more information.
About St. Louis Art Place Initiative
The St. Louis Art Place Initiative seeks to create wealth and equity through homeownership for low and moderate income artists of all disciplines. We realize this vision through the creative re-use and preservation of vacant and deteriorating properties. We work with existing community organizations, civic leaders, small business, and other government and civic agencies to ensure that our housing initiatives meet the needs and serves the constituents of the community, while developing and integrating artist live/work spaces which enrich the lives of the artist, existing neighborhood residents and the St. Louis region as a whole.