What is the number one question asked of artists showing their work at WAL First Fridays?
Some variation of…
“How do I get to live here?”
It’s true. The artists who live here talk amongst ourselves and we have collectively determined that people come to see us not necessarily because they want to see our art, but because this amazing, magical, wonderful, one-of-a-kind artistic haven is the sort of place you ( or a friend or family member) would love to move into.
Because I am an introvert and have limited band width / energy to talk to people, I prefer to spend my time at Open Studios talking about the art I’ve spent months working on. Because I’m still a bit of a people pleaser (and acknowledge that there was a time when I had the exact same questions myself!), I have created this helpful page to answer the questions we hear the most about Living At WAL. In fact, you may be reading this post because I directed you to a QR code in my hallway. That’s how committed I am to saving my time and being a good WAL Ambassador. <3
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I get to live here? 99% of everything you need to know is at the WAL website under the heading of “Living at WAL“. In particular, you’ll find current rent rates, apartment sizes (number of rooms, square footage, etc.) and the forms you need to apply. If you are serious, this is the place to start.
2. Was it hard to get in? How long does it take to get in? If you call the office, they will likely tell you there is a wait list that is 1 – 5 years long. This is because there are MANY factors that figure into your chances of getting in. These factors include (and are not limited to) — what units become available, whether you qualify for an income subsidy, whether your household size is a fit for an available unit, whether other people ahead of you on the wait list are still available or interested etc.
I know people who hung in there for over two years until they got the call and made it happen. I lucked out and got in a few months after I applied because a unit I qualified for opened up unexpectedly when someone got engaged and decided to move out and four people ahead of me on the wait list were no longer interested or had moved on. The thing is, life brings changes and (like any other rental property) people are always moving in and moving out. My advice is simply to APPLY and leave the rest up to the Universe. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. You can’t get in if you don’t apply.
3. Do you have to be an artist to live here? Priority goes to artists. My understanding is that if there are five applicants who all qualify for a space and only one is an artist, the artist is the priority. There are some among us who are technically not artists, but love the artist vibe and are good community members.
4. Do I have to be a good / professional artist to live at WAL? This is not Julliard. It is a living community. You do not “audition” to live here. Part of the application process requires you to demonstrate (photos or a website) or describe your art, but there is not a judging committee that decides whether you and your art are good enough for prime time. We have every variety of visual artist, musicians, performing artists, new media artists, writers, makers, etc. If you do some form of artistic endeavor fairly consistently, you’re probably fine.
5. How much does it cost to live here? or How much is your rent? (See question #1) It is very difficult to answer this question because of all the variables, and how much I (or anyone else) pays for rent is really no one else’s business. I want to believe your mother raised you better than that, so don’t ask!
6. Can you have pets at WAL? Yes, many of us have pets. Like most rental properties, we have pet deposits, and there are limitations on the size or breed of the animal. There are quite a few neighbors out walking their dogs every morning and evening, and some of us know the pets’ names better than the residents!
7. What About Parking? The building has two levels of parking garages under the living spaces. However, this space was designed to take advantage of our close proximity to Light Rail and the ease of enjoying urban living with close proximity to many restaurants, bars, shopping, and entertainment venues. (I managed to live at WAL without a car for nearly six years, and only recently re-acquired one.) That said, you may or may not score a parking spot depending on availability. Like many things, this is subject to change and not guaranteed.
8. What’s it like living downtown? I have lived in a variety of places and I really like living downtown. I like the walkability of it, the interesting characters, the events, and easy access to restaurants and event venues like DOCO. The downsides include a growing homeless population, rising rents, and the aforementioned interesting characters. It is especially good if you are young and single or older and retired or semi-retired. (No lawns to mow, etc.)
Alright, those are the main questions typically asked about Living at WAL. I hope you enjoyed these special insider insights. Now, be a good human and go support those artists you came to visit and stay out of their bedrooms, bathrooms and medicine cabinets! (Yes, people have done that!)