ABOUT WAMO

WAMO is the Warehouse Arts Management Organization, formed in 2004 as an outcome of the Tucson Historic Warehouse Arts District master planning process.

WAMO is the group looking out for the entire  Tucson Historic Warehouse Arts District—its history and its future.   WAMO works to strengthen what’s already here—working with artists and organization who have been in the district for more than 20 years,  with those who are newly relocated, and with those who are interested in being a part of the scene in the future.

WAMO is working to:

  • Develop an intact, cohesive area with spaces for shared arts experience

  • Create a long-term marketing/publicity plan for the district

  • Ensure that all arts disciplines have a place in the district.

MISSION STATEMENT: 

The mission of this artist-led nonprofit is to preserve, protect, promote, and program the Tucson Historic Warehouse Arts District.

WAMO continues and develops the work of artists and related individuals who have helped to create Tucson’s Historic Warehouse Arts District as an active and varied center and community for the arts, within a downtown community that includes working artists, galleries, museums, nonprofit arts organizations, and supportive retail and residential interests.

For more about WAMO, please read this article by Ann Vargas, Vice President, which appears in the book "Citizens Warehouse".

ABOUT THE WAREHOUSE ARTS DISTRICT

Austin.  Portland. Seattle. San Jose.  These are cities that often are cited as places that have thriving downtowns —and often talked about as places that Tucson should emulate.  The fact is that Tucson does not need to be like those communities, it needs to DO like those communities: We need to build upon the assets that make our city unique. The Tucson Historic Warehouse Arts District is a unique asset—and the Warehouse Arts Management Organization (WAMO) is working to develop it into a thriving arts district.

Since the 1980s, artists have been building a community of performers and presenters in the Tucson Historic Warehouse Arts District that are among the most culturally defining for Tucson.  Think Solar Culture. Think the Mat Bevel Institute. Think Many Mouths One Stomach and the All Souls Procession.  Think Kore Press and Chax Press, BICAS, Puppetworks, Toole Shed, The Gloo Factory, Dinnerware Artspace and hundreds of others. Over the years, artists and arts organization have moved in and out of the district; what has remained constant is that creative people have come together to produce amazing works and provide opportunities for the public to experience art, learn about art, and make art, with national and internationally know artists.  WAMO is working with artists and arts organizations to continue this tradition by preserving, creating, and maintaining affordable spaces for arts uses, for now and for forever.

WAMO is working in the Tucson Historic Warehouse Arts District to preserve a significant slice of Tucson history. Buildings like the Steinfeld Warehouse and the Toole Avenue warehouses will never be built again. The Steinfeld Warehouse was constructed in 1907 for local businessman Albert Steinfeld and his retail establishments. It is considered one of the best surviving examples of early 20th century warehouse buildings in Tucson. The Toole Avenue warehouses are unique and have a street presence few other warehouses of any era can match.

The buildings of the district are both historic and in need of attention. We have a unique opportunity to both preserve Tucson history AND develop an arts district for now and for the future.  Imagine the Steinfeld warehouse restored and transformed into a thriving arts center with studio spaces for visual artists, offices for small and mid-sized arts organizations, and public exhibition, workshop and performance spaces.

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