From Vacant to Vibrant: A Deep Dive into Zero Empty Spaces’ Mission and Impact

Zero Empty Spaces (ZES) is a shining example of creativity and community revitalization in the field of urban development and placemaking. In areas where empty storefronts serve as reminders of once-bustling commercial spaces, ZES has transformed vacant spaces into lively artist studios. As it celebrates its 4-year anniversary, ZES has not only breathed new life into these spaces but has also played a key role in reshaping the cultural landscape of cities throughout the United States.

Evan Snow, the co-founder of Zero Empty Spaces, along with his business partner, Andrew Martineau, set out on a mission to address the needs of artists who were in search of affordable and secure studio spaces, as well as property owners who wanted to make use of their vacant commercial real estate. Operating under the UniteUs Group, Zero Empty Spaces (ZES) has effectively transformed 30 formerly vacant spaces in three different states within a span of four years. This initiative has provided a welcoming environment for over 500 artists to thrive and create.

From Zero to Hero – Venice magazine

Portraits by Sonya Revel

“At Zero Empty Spaces, we’re arts advocates, community builders, and creative entrepreneurs. We came up with an initiative to solve a problem.” – Evan Snow, Co-founder, Zero Empty Spaces

The inception of Zero Empty Spaces was fueled in part by Martineau & Snow’s inspiration drawn from the early stages of Wynwood, Miami. The industrial warehouse district of Miami was nothing when Snow was growing up, but it was transformed into a cultural hub through the collaboration of developers, artists, and the community. Snow was heavily inspired by this transformation and was committed to bringing a similar cultural renaissance to his native Broward County.

File:Wynwood Walls Miami Florida October 2013.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

“I was heavily inspired by the early stages of Wynwood, the industrial warehouse district of Miami, which was never anything special when I was growing up.” – Evan Snow

Snow, believes that anyone can pursue their passions at any point in their lives. He is passionate about inspiring and motivating people to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals. Zero Empty Spaces is not just a provider of studio spaces, but a placemaking platform that supports artists at every stage of their careers. Through the stories of successful artists who have found a community and support system at Zero Empty Spaces, Snow encourages others to take the leap and pursue their passions.

“I like to tell people and inspire people that anybody could do anything, pursue any passion that they have at any stage of their life, in any stage of the game.”

Snow emphasizes ZES’s commitment to connecting emerging, mid-career, and established artists in shared spaces. This is crucial because it is often difficult for emerging or mid-career artists to secure a spot in conventional residencies or art programs. Rosanna Kalis, a successful senior-level investment banker turned artist, exemplifies this journey. Placed in a high-profile location on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, Collis found herself surrounded by established artists like Ill Surge. This environment allowed her to collaborate, learn new techniques, and eventually venture into mural art—a significant leap for an emerging artist. Today, her murals grace major establishments in South Florida.

Zero Empty Spaces' Fills Empty Broward Storefronts With Artist Studios | WLRN

Rosanna Kalis

ZES studios are accessible round the clock, on a month-to-month basis, and are designed to be affordable, with prices starting at $2.50 per square foot, inclusive of utilities. By democratizing studio spaces, they aim to break down barriers and provide art opportunities to artists at every stage of their careers.

“We pride ourselves on pairing emerging, mid-career, and established artists in spaces because it’s so tough for any emerging or even mid-career artist to get a space in one of the traditional residencies or art programs.” -Evan Snow

What’s in it for the renter?

Zero Empty Spaces goes beyond just filling up spaces; it breathes new life into entire communities. The ability to walk around freely, which is linked to increased levels of innovation and civic participation, is a crucial component of prosperous cities and neighborhoods. The effects of this initiative are felt well beyond the confines of the studios, as it encourages local inhabitants to get involved and fosters a feeling of togetherness and exploration.

“Our first location on Las Olas, we had over a thousand people come out to the grand opening reception. People were spilling out into the streets. It would have been different if it was just another gallery opening, but people came out for the novelty of the concept putting local artists on our main street”. ” – Evan Snow

ZES transforms from a mere tenant into a valuable partner, contributing to the triumph of commercial real estate. Through assuming responsibility, offering insurance coverage, and ensuring consistent activity, ZES generates favorable publicity, boosts customer visits, and creates an exciting atmosphere that mutually benefits artists and property owners.

“We guarantee the space will be open and activated daily. So there’s some positive activity, traffic buzz to support the walkability of the property or shopping center.” – Evan Snow

What’s next for Zero Empty Spaces?

Zero Empty Spaces is marking its fourth year of operation by developing an e-commerce platform for artists. This platform will serve as a digital marketplace for artists of all levels to sell their work. In the future, ZES plans to acquire commercial real estate to establish permanent studios and live-work spaces.

Get in Contact with Zero Empty Spaces through email: [email protected] or phone: 844-427-8788

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