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Build Art Space Equitably

Build Art Space Equitably (BASE) is a certification program designed extend the “onramp” to commercial real estate development further into cultural communities. Its 20-person annual cohort explores a curriculum centered on the intersection of commercial real estate, community development, and the arts.

Home: Welcome

The 2024/2025 Cohort begins in June 2024!

Please spend about 20 minutes telling us about yourself. We will keep all of this information private and will only share it with the community-based review panel that will be choosing next year's cohort. 


Please reach out to B.A.S.E. program manager Stephanie Morales, the Community Liaison at The Cultural Space Agency, with any questions at Stephanie@culturalspace.ageny Use subject line: "B.A.S.E. Application"

Launched in 2018 by the City of Seattle's Office of Arts and Culture, BASE is now operated by the Cultural Spaces Agency and funded by the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

BASE Diagram_white.jpg

Each year the BASE program graduates another creative, passionate and informed cohort of cultural space explorers.

  • We build culturally savvy real estate developers and development-savvy arts and culture entrepreneurs.

  • We seek professionals who live at the intersection of the arts and commercial real estate.

  • We  support the creation of a network of troublemakers who seek to hack existing systems in both commercial real estate and arts & culture, to make those systems more equitable, more accessible, more comprehensible, and more functional.

Our Values

The BASE program and its producing organization the Cultural Space Agency are driven by a series of core values:  

  • Keep Race in the Room: Center the needs of communities of color. 

  • Build Community Wealth: Create structures that support literal property ownership by community members and organizations. 

  • Assets are not Always Financial: Find ways to value intergenerational knowledge, sweat equity, cultural traditions, social networks, and other non-financial assets found in community.  

  • Who Decides Who Decides?: Create transparent decision-making pathways where power flows from community to organizational leadership. 

  • Always be Learning: Question dominant cultural assumptions and be inquisitive. 



The program provides essential information, experience, and connections in service of supporting community cultural spaces. The cohort meets regularly for a year, exploring the mechanics of both cultural community organizing and of commercial property development. Experts are brought in to explain some of the more esoteric details of capital stack financing, or of floor-to-area ratio incentives. Each meeting takes place at a cultural space in Seattle, and includes a tour and a talk from the space's leadership. 

Nine people sit collaborating around a large table with papers, pads, and other materials on the table.
An audience of over 100 people, the BASE 2018 cohort members and their guests, sit in the King Street Station gallery listening to a keynote address by Moy Eng from the Community Arts Stabilization Trust in San Francisco.


The BASE cohort’s annual membership is firmly rooted in communities of color, a choice intended to reverse centuries of institutionalized racism and to aim the knowledge the program provides towards the communities that have historically been furthest from the cultural space-building opportunities that have existed. 


BASE cohort members have traditionally come from a variety of backgrounds, including: 

  • Architects

  • Community Organizers

  • Elected Officials

  • Storytellers

  • Philanthropists

  • Commercial Lenders

  • Nonprofit Directors

  • Independent Artists

  • Property Developers

  • Code Reviewers

  • Recording Artists

  • Educators


The BASE resource bank serves as an online library for the general public and the BASE cohorts. You may find information of how to run a cultural space, build a financial model, and how to navigate the regulatory system through the Tool and Resource page.

BASE Leadership Committee member Gus Newport congratulates BASE cohort graduate Nancy Chang at the 2019 BASE graduation ceremony.

The BASE Program - Winner of: 

Seattle AIA 2020 Award of Merit

"Cultural spaces play a vital role in our cities and communities. We applaud this award-winning project for maintaining cultural integrity in our communities. This program engages the community and creates a space that truly elevates them.”

2020 PAW/APA Awards for Planning Excellence
Sustainability Category

The members of the first and second BASE cohorts celebrate together and pose for a group portrait at the Square Feet Seattle event in 2019.
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