Carson Arts Colony
Finalist: Best Affordable Apartment Community (Up to 100 units)
Nominated by: Meta Housing Corporation
Location: Carson, Calif.
Developer: Meta Housing Corporation
Architect: Y&M Architects
General Contractor: Angeles Contractor
Interior Designer: JAG Interiors
Photographer: Panic Studio LA
Project Website: Carson Arts Colony
Carson Arts is the new construction of an affordable apartment community that offers arts-focused amenities and services for 46 low-income working artists and their families. Through music rooms, artist studios, a woodworking shop and art gallery, Carson Arts offers the space and tools for residents to collaborate, create and exhibit their art. A mural by Los Angeles artist and designer PUSH enlivens the outdoor space as children play at the project’s spacious playground. These amenities are complemented by large one-, two- and three-bedroom units that provide much-needed affordable housing for Southern California’s creative economy. Los Angeles has the largest commercial creative economy in the United States, but housing and workspace insecurity for artists threatens to diminish this status. According to Arts for LA’s 2019 report on Policies and Practices for Keeping Artists in Los Angeles, working artists are vulnerable to market forces: In a survey of 763 artists, 89% stated that affordability of housing in Los Angeles County is a serious concern, while 90% said the same of workspace affordability. Most artists surveyed for this report earned less than $50,000 per year. At Carson Arts, low-income artists such as the ones surveyed can live and work safely, thereby advancing Los Angeles creative economy. Completed in 2020, Carson Arts is fully leased and operating. The project was developed in close collaboration with city and community leaders, local housing agencies, and community-based non-profits. The onsite art gallery is directed by arts non-profit Universal Voice, whose mission is to provide exhibition, publication and professional development opportunities to female creatives.