In 2017, the St. Louis City Planning Commission adopted the Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods Plan. Within this comprehensive visioning for the growth and development of this neighborhood was a call for affordable, for-sale housing for artists. The St. Louis Art Place Initiative (API) was founded to work towards that call.
API was co-founded in 2019 by the Incarnate Word Foundation, the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, and the Regional Arts Commission to build wealth and equity for low-to-moderate-income artists through homeownership. API secured 25 parcels of vacant and deteriorating properties in Gravois Park from St. Louis City to build 20 units of single-family housing over the next 3-5 years. These homes will be made available for purchase to artists through an application process.
In partnership with neighbors, community advocates, and stakeholders API and its community partner, Dutchtown South Community Corporation (DSCC), will form a community land trust (CLT) to ensure the mission of API is fulfilled in perpetuity. The CLT will manage the future resale of homes, as well as own and manage communal green spaces in the API footprint for the benefit of the Gravois Park Community.
MEET OUR BoarD
The St. Louis Art Place Initiative is overseen by a board of directors including the following members:
The first development of the St. Louis Art Place Initiative is the Gravois Park Art Place, comprising 14 vacant lots and 11 structures in a 4 by 1 block radius in the Gravois Park neighborhood.
The development will provide local artists an opportunity to become homeowners, incentivizing them based on a set of criteria using a racial equity lens, and intentional strategies to promote fair housing practices. We encourage artists from immigrant and historically marginalized backgrounds to apply.
API FACT SHEET
- The Regional Arts Commission will ensure integrity and transparency in the artist engagement, application, and selection process. RAC brings best practices to the process to ensure that the public and artists in the region are represented at the table.
- The Incarnate Word Foundation has brought significant investment and strategic partners to this project. They will continue to bring their expertise in community engagement, social work, and advocacy for low-income and families of color.
- In line with its mission of serving and supporting artists through Infrastructure, The Kranzberg Arts Foundation will bring significant investment to get the first development off the ground. KAF also brings their design and development expertise, as well as their industry contacts to the project.
- API will work closely with neighbors, elected officials, community organizations, and local stakeholders to ensure ongoing conversations regarding the resulting effects of this development. We acknowledge that development can have negative secondary impacts, such as increased rents and possible displacement. We have a commitment to the neighborhoods we work in and want to promote positive, equitable revitalization. Local resident and stakeholder participation is encouraged through participation in focus groups, sub-committees, and advisory boards to our organization in order to facilitate transparency and accountability.
- API realizes its 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 serve 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.
- The first development of the API is the Gravois Park Art Place, comprising 14 vacant lots and 11 structures in a 4 by 1 block radius in the Gravois Park neighborhood.
- The development will provide local artists an opportunity to become homeowners, incentivizing them based on a set of criteria using a racial equity lens, and intentional strategies to promote fair housing practices. We encourage artists from immigrant and historically marginalized backgrounds to apply.
- Artists who qualify will have a commitment to living and working in St. Louis, demonstrate professionalism at their craft, and prove financial capacity (non-traditional banking histories will be considered).
- Artists will have access to a broad range of community services, including homeownership and financial capacity building.
- Artists will build creditworthiness and equity through first time home ownership and timely payments over the life of the mortgage. Should artists choose to sell their homes, they will be sold back to the trust. The value of the homes will be tied to a specific resale formula that preserves affordability to ensure that low- and moderate-income artists will be able to live in the homes in perpetuity.