Nearly every city in the country has its fair share of “artist” live/work studios, but it's cool to see lofts that were designed, developed and funded by a genuine non-profit artist community. The 25-year-old arts collective AS220 recently refurbished the historic Mercantile Block in downtown Providence to create the studios that retain many architectural details of the building.In addition to offering less expensive spaces to residents whose yearly income is capped below $26,000, the Mercantile lofts also include unrestricted units with rents ranging from $1,055 to $1,100 (plus some utilities and free internet access). The building also houses the community Print Shop and Lab — a studio that combines art and robotics — and nearby is the non-profit's gallery, performance space, bar and restaurant serving all locally grown ingredients and hosting a weekly winter farmer's market. All-in-all a pretty awesome utopia right in the center of the city.
Images: Heidi Gumula