WAV Working Artists Ventura

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Artist Rendering of WAV

The Working Artists Ventura (WAV) project is a $59 million, state-of-the-art community designed for artists and creative businesses completed in December 2009. The WAV community, in the heart of Ventura’s Downtown Cultural District, offers affordable living and working space for over a hundred artists of every kind – painters, sculptors, dancers, poets, musicians, filmmakers and more.

The artists bring to life a theater/gallery with performances, art openings and neighborhood gatherings. Arts-friendly small businesses including coffee houses, galleries, cafes, wine bars and jazz clubs will draw foot traffic and contribute to the vitality of the community.

With the community involved in every phase of development, the WAV project was created for diverse, mixed-income families and individuals. Supportive housing and crucial services are being provided to those at the lowest end of the income scale while market-rate condominiums with ocean views serve higher-income households and help to subsidize the affordable housing.

The first of its kind, the WAV project represents the vanguard of community development. The entire WAV community was designed and built to the highest standards of green building technology (LEED certified), including recycled building materials, car sharing, water and energy conservation, and renewable power from the sun.

The City of Ventura worked with PLACE (Projects Linking Art, Community & Environment, www.placeonline.us ), a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota. PLACE has developed this live/work project to provide permanently affordable housing for the Ventura community's growing population of artists.

PLACE has worked with the renowned architecture firms of CardeTen (www.cardeten.com) and Santos Prescott & Associates (www.santosprescott.com) to design this innovative project, with the active participation of the wider community and the local Conceptual Oversight Group, comprised of the following:

Ed Moses Housing Authority - City of San Buenaventura
Paul Lindhard Artist with Art City
Ray DiGiulio Former Mayor
Karen Flock Affordable Housing
Mike Merewether Insurance Executive
Curt Stiles Architect
Rick Pearson Project Understanding
Nick Deitch Architect
Doug Halter Chamber of Commerce
Betsy Chess San Buenaventura Foundation
Sid White City of Ventura
Elena Brokaw City of Ventura
Kerry Adams Hapner City of Ventura
Cheryl Heitmann Community Colleges
Karyl Lynn Burns Rubicon Theater

Affordable Housing & Supportive Housing

The WAV project provides sixty-nine new units of affordable housing, all serving low income families and individuals from across the region. Because artists need high ceilings, plentiful light and open space, they and their families find it particularly difficult to live and work in traditional affordable housing. That is why WAV provides 54 affordable units especially designed and funded for the needs of artists with families.

Fifteen of the units are designed to provide permanent supportive housing, intended to house recently homeless families and individuals from across Ventura County. Rents will adjust on a sliding scale, creating opportunities for households of any income.

Project Understanding (www.projectunderstanding.org) , a Ventura-based nonprofit, is coordinating crucial services necessary to help these households break the cycle of severe poverty and homelessness. Supportive Housing is a national movement proving to be extremely effective. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that almost 84 percent of homeless households were still housed after one year in supportive housing, and emergency room visits were dramatically reduced, thus saving health care costs.

A unique collaboration has also been developed with Casa Pacifica (www.casapacifica.org) of Camarillo to provide space and support for eighteen-year-olds matriculating from the foster-care and Casa Pacifica systems.

Providing construction management and owner’s representation on the WAV project is S. L. Leonard and Associates (www.slleonard.com), while Bernards Construction (www.bernards.com) will be the General Contractor on this project. Both Bernards and S. L. Leonard are national companies with extensive experience on projects in the Southern California region and were chosen for their ability to work with PLACE and the City of Ventura in ways that are innovative and that will result in an environmentally friendly structure.

Working Artists Ventura - Architectural Renderings

The renderings below represent the completed design. We met the challenge of creating a structure that will be simultaneously durable, green and affordable by using new building materials and cutting-edge architectural practices. Kalwall, one example of an innovative building material that will be used, will create translucent walls that give artists more natural light, and will allow light to escape the building at night, creating a subtle glowing effect like a Chinese lantern.

Street Level Side View from Ventura Avenue

View from Garden Street

The building design received final approval from the City of Ventura Planning Commission in February 2007. Below is a map showing the location, at the corners of Thompson Blvd. and Ventura Ave. of the future building site. This location will serve as the linkage between historic Downtown and a revitalized Westside. The project broke ground in January 2008 and was completed on schedule in late Fall 2009.

Location Map

Working Artists Ventura - News and Events

There are a number of ways for you to participate in the WAV community:

  • Join in the online the discussion about the artist selection process at www.place.us.
  • Attend the next WAV community meeting (see website for dates).
  • Become a limited edition donor by purchasing one of 75 artist-designed ceramic tiles that will be permanently installed in a special ceremony in Fall 2009. Order form.
  • There are many naming opportunities available to individuals and corporations; the following is a partial list:

WAV Naming Opportunities

Opportunity Gift
The WAV Community $2,000,000
The Theater Gallery $750,000
End Homelessness $500,000
Supportive Housing Community $250,000
Commercial Block Building $250,000
Supportive Housing - Individual Unit Wing $150,000
Supportive Housing - Family Unit Wing $150,000
Plaza Courtyard $150,000
Garden Courtyard $100,000
Artist Courtyard $75,000
Northern Block $75,000
Central Block Building $75,000
Community Services Bldg $75,000
Western Block Building $75,000
Theater Rooftop Deck $50,000
Central Rooftop Deck $50,000
Western Rooftop Deck $50,000
Zaguan $40,000
Artist's Hot Room $40,000
Garden Deck $40,000
Paseo $30,000
Bridges (5 total) $25,000
Electric Car $20,000 (each)
Public Art Pieces (multiple) $15,000 (each)
Trees (multiple) $10,000 (each)
Theater Seats $2,500 (each)
Tiles/Founders' Wall $1,000 - $15,000

For more information regarding this project, please contact the WAV property manager at 805-641-0400, wav@jsco.com, or visit www.placeonline.us.