In her junior year, emerging artist Sophia Munic ’19 got a huge boost: Her application for a Spaceworks Tacoma Artscapes grant had been accepted.
She would get to fill two of the vacant storefront windows of the historic F.W. Woolworth building on Broadway with art installations that would be on public view alongside the work of more established artists.
Since 2010, Spaceworks has organized hundreds of temporary Artscapes throughout downtown Tacoma. Mixed-media installations pop up in empty storefront windows and giant murals bloom across concrete walls, then disappear, disassembled and whitewashed to be replaced by new works. The nonprofit organization offers stipends to Pacific Northwest artists with the goal of revitalizing the downtown area and giving artists an urban canvas. Sophia was elated to join their ranks.
“Any time anyone’s making something, that’s where communities form,” she says. “That’s something I’m really passionate about, seeing how people can support each other and learn from one another.”
Sophia applied for an Artscapes grant in summer 2017, not knowing if she had a chance of being accepted. She was studying abroad in Paris when she learned that Spaceworks wanted her to mount an installation in the Woolworth windows. Her excitement was tempered by pragmatism—now that she had the opportunity, could she actually do this? She contacted her sculpture professor, Michael Johnson, for assistance and applied for a university summer research grant to help her prepare.