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CultureWorks opening coworking space at 1315 Walnut St. on Oct. 1

Fewer full-time jobs, a growing base of young professionals in Center City, and a bubbling up of freelance culture in Philadelphia has given rise to coworking, led by Independents Hall and followed by other niche spaces like NextFab Studios, Philadelphia Woodworks, and the soon-to-launch Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, to name a few.
Now one of the city’s leading arts and culture groups is getting into the coworking game. CultureWorks, which provides resources like low-cost access to tools and strategy for Philadelphia-area artists, cultural organizations and creative professionals, has announced it is opening up an approximately 4,500 square-foot coworking space at 1315 Walnut Streeet.
CultureWorks currently operates out of a cramped rowhouse in the Fairmount neighborhood. The new coworking space in Center City will represent a large increase in space, and will enable individuals who wish to sign up access to a desk, conference room, mailing center, kitchenette, and private break rooms, says Marcel Williams Foster, manager of operations and coworking for CultureWorks. 
Foster and CultureWorks are convinced of the multitude of benefits associated with coworking spaces. One of the most important benefits he cites is the ability to work with other professionals in the same or similar fields. 
"Coworking is an international revolution that recognizes the synergy that takes place in a space when a group of freelancers work alongside one another; conversations spark, connections are made, and work gets done," says Foster. 
The co-working space will open its doors and desks on Oct. 1. The space has been tailored with the help of Metcalfe Architecture and Design, while Cozen O’Connor has provided free legal support. CultureWorks is currently in search of "founding members" to act as "co-investors" of the upcoming space, says Foster. 1315 Walnut St. is the Philadelphia Building, which is already home to one notable arts organization, the Leeway Foundation, which provides grants for female and transgendered artists.  

Current members include former Philadelphia City Paper publisher Paul Curci, arts and heritage organization Hidden City Philadelphia, writer/director/dramaturg Britney Hines and attorney Morgan Cheshire.
Rates for the new co-working space are $45 a month for access three days a month, $225 a month for access three days a week, and $350 a month for unlimited access. This includes the chance to help organize events, some of which have addressed the legal aspects of arts and cultural organizations, in-house event planning, and high-tech resources. Membership will be open to any arts, heritage, or cultural organization in greater Philadelphia.
Another asset that comes with a cultural co-working space is enhanced project management, says the co-working manager. Foster says project management includes financial, marketing, and other components to maintaining a business, organization, or freelance profession. "The coworking space will greatly aid in the rising demands of management solutions for artists and cultural heritage leaders since it will provide an affordable center to get work done," he says. 
CultureWorks has gleaned considerable experience in working with some notable organizations in the past few years. Organizations they’ve assisted include the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) and the Asian Arts Initiative. In the past two years, the organization helped foster collaboration between the religious and arts communities in working with Partners for Sacred Places. As a result, the Partners has embarked on a national effort and the First Baptist Church at 17th and Sansom, with whom they worked, has opened five theaters, says Foster.  
ANDY SHARPE is development news editor of Flying Kite. Send feedback here.
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