Alma mater platform - accelerator program


Project Overview

The AMP Accelerator Program grew from a desire to welcome creative groups from around the PNW region to gather and engage in conversation about what sustainable, relevant, and generative arts business looks like.  

We are interested in working with early and mid-stage artistic teams who are in the process of growing or desire to grow their own sustainable arts business. We offer participation stipends (covering travel & lodging) to be a part of our 3 month Accelerator Cohort in Fall 2018. This is designed to be an educational seminar experience. In appreciation of our cohort member’s time and expertise and our commitment to promoting sustainable business practice in the arts, all participant teams who complete the program will be awarded a completion grant in the amount of $50,000 to assist with their business development goals.

We value the social good we produce right alongside the financial sustainability of the businesses we hope to support and are excited to evolve this initiative with a cohort of creative business leaders. You know what your community needs. Let’s have a conversation about how to build it.


Organization’s Background

In Spring of 2018, we launched our first business  – Alma Mater Tacoma. Housed in the old Carpenters Union Building in downtown Tacoma, Alma Mater is an artist-driven work, performance, and gathering space. The building houses both private and public spaces for artists to create, collaborate, and engage with each other and the public. Facilities include daytime Honey café, evening hours Matriarch lounge, event spaces housing 5 to 500 people, performance venue Fawcett Hall, Mothership Recording Studios, and The Workshop – a shared artist workspace.  

We operate from a belief that art and creative practice can be a community anchor that brings us together to connect, to be challenged, and to grow our understanding. In this model, economic sustainability and multifaceted public access comes from incorporating hospitality and space-based revenue generation in our home for artist workspace and performance. At Alma Mater we create, we work, we eat, we drink, we learn, we inspire, and we aim to thrive as individuals and as a community. Below we have identified the basic “DNA” of our model.


Our AMP Model Components

A : A Venue/Hosting space

Music Venue, Event Hall, Theatre, Exhibition space

B : Education & Community Building

Public classes, Support of local non-profits and orgs through space and sponsorship, Youth programming, Mind-body wellness spaces, Civic engagement

C : Artist support

Studios, Workspace, Professional development courses, “Incubator” programming, Artist collaboration-based opportunities, Residency program

D : Hospitality

Cafe, Restaurant, Lounge, Commissary/Food truck hosting site

A + B + C + D = AMP


Project Goals

  1. $50,000 grant distribution to all selected cohort teams at completion of the Accelerator program for the purpose of furthering their business development.

  2. 3 month long seminar experience focused on sustainable business practice and creative placemaking.

  3. Collaboration and discussion with a regional cohort of creatives.



Our AMP cohort will meet at Alma Mater Tacoma 1-2 times a month for 3 months in the Fall of 2018. During this time you will be getting to know the team and each other, brainstorming around creative business and community impact, having some fun, and building connections.

Priority Deadline for Accelerator applications is July 5th. 

We will be accepting applications on a rolling basis until the Final Deadline on July 20th.

Phone interviews will be conducted in July.

May 2018 - Open Submissions

July 2018 - Close Submissions

August 2018 - Notification of Acceptance to Accelerator Cohort

Sept- Nov 2018 - Monthly visits to Tacoma, WA : Participation in Accelerator 

December 2018 - Grant Distribution


What we have to offer: Dedication to Learning...

We are here to grow ideas for successful and sustainable art business ventures. We know there are undoubtedly brilliant ideas we have yet to come across. We know that there are a million questions that arise in starting a new business. We are here to offer our experience in starting to answer those initial questions and to continue developing better answers together. The purpose of this cohort exchange is to collect a plethora of good ideas, develop implementation strategies and get to know others in the region who are seeking to support our growing creative community.

Content Discussion Areas:

  • Valuing art: qualitative metrics in a quantitative world
  • Experiencing Creativity: physical spaces and the digital age
  • Artist as Business Leader: Civic Conversations
    • merging fields; market visibility and the civic platform
  • Hybrid Business Structure
    • best of all worlds, symbiotic partnership & multi-use spaces
  • Leveraging & “working with” what already exists: artists, orgs and city
    • community partnership
  • Funding: Grants, Government and the Private Sector
  • Construction : Brick & Mortar, Design & Interaction
    • how design influences engagement; prepared environments
  • Community Commitment - Who Do We Serve, What Do We Do, and How
    • relevancy and a structure that can grow, respond & adapt
  • City : Zoning, Permitting and other Hoop Jumping



Grant Awards will be administered in December 2018 after completion of the Accelerator program. All travel expense for Accelerator participation will be agreed upon between AMP and cohort team leads prior to participation and additionally be covered.


Ongoing Support

WEND is a social impact vehicle focused on exploring diverse ways to sustain and enhance all life on earth. Driven by the belief that people possess the greatest ability to affect profound change in the world, WEND aims to support those who innovate, demonstrate, and amplify great work on behalf of their community. We focus on education, indigenous peoples, biodiverse ecosystems, youth, and artists, and partner with those who think creatively and apply constructively. It is with the generous financial support of WEND that we are able to offer this opportunity to the creative community of the PNW.

Criteria for Selection

What we are looking for:

AMP seeks to attract a diverse community of creatives from the region and strongly encourages persons of all genders, race, cultural backgrounds, age and ability to apply.

Primary elements we look for in our cohort applications: Demonstrated Leadership, Professionalism, Knowledge of your town/area, Diverse Leadership Skills and Backgrounds, and a cohesive vision that helps us understand where you’ve been and where you hope to go.


Point of Contact

Alma Mater Platform, Community Relationship Manager,

Leigh Shaw :