Making room for innovation

Downtown Arlington: Innovation Hub

Along with artists, now entrepreneurs and inventors are finding launch pads for their creativity in Downtown Arlington.

For decades, people have discovered, cultivated and practiced visual and performing arts in Downtown. Professional and aspiring actors, singers, dancers, artists and musicians have taken to rehearsal halls, galleries and stages of the Levitt Pavilion, Theatre Arlington, Arlington Music Hall, CATS, Symphony Arlington, Miss Persis Dance Studio, Arlington Museum of Art, not to mention the myriad of studios, classrooms, galleries and venues at UT Arlington.

Today, innovation labs, studios and coworking spaces play important roles in Downtown’s new economy.

Coworking it out

At its simplest, coworking is a shared working environment and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, people engaged in coworking are usually not employed by the same organization, such as entrepreneurs, work-at-home professionals, freelancers, or people who travel frequently. For those with similar interests, coworking can also involve – or evolve – into synergy and collaboration.

PinnStation, which opened in Downtown Arlington just a few months ago, is patterned on popular coworking models such as Idea Works in Ft. Worth and The Grove and the DEC in Dallas. “PinnStation is here to help people start their companies via mentoring, collaboration opportunities and programs suited to entrepreneurs,” said Scott Parsinen, interim Entrepreneur-in-Residence. “We offer everything a company needs to be successful.”

Parsinen launched his own dental technology business out of UT Arlington’s Startup Lounge in 2015. When he was ready to move off campus, he connected with Tony Rutigliano, President and CEO of Downtown Arlington Management Corporation, who connected him with Bob Johnson, President of Pinnacle Corporation. Johnson and his team were interested in creating a coworking space within the company’s office building. Soon after, PinnStation was born.

“Coworking isn’t just about the physical place but about establishing a community,” said Rutigliano. “The City of Arlington, UT Arlington and DAMC are very committed to developing the kind of ecosystem necessary to attract, cultivate and keep entrepreneurs in Arlington. PinnStation is a big step in that direction.”

Instant noodles

“Like instant noodles just need hot water and they’re ready to eat,” said Sarinya Oliver of Studio Space Arlington, “our space is an ‘instant studio.’ Clients only need to bring a camera to fire up their business!”

Since 2007, Studio Space Arlington has provided a professional workspace for photo and video shoots.  From as nearby as UT Arlington and as far away as Canada and South America, amateur and professional photographers, videographers, fashion designers, YouTubers, marketers, magazine publishers and start-up companies have come to rely on Studio Space Arlington for a full service experience.

“The studio is fully equipped with studio lighting, props, background, furniture, make up area, meeting space and other accessories – all included in one, affordable rate,” said Oliver.

“Being located near the DFW Airport allows us to host a number of national and international shoots,” continued Oliver. “Arlington is the central ground for entrepreneurs to meet their clients and recruit talent for their productions. Plus, the revitalization of Downtown Arlington has created an attractive place for people to enjoy restaurants and amenities both before and after their studio session. In fact, they often combine their studio session with outdoor shoots around Downtown!”

All about that space

We’ve put together an eclectic list of equally eclectic spaces in Downtown. Some are new, some are evolving, and others have been around for years. Whether a coworking space, studio or innovation lab, each has a unique commitment to a particular niche and building synergy around shared interests, goals and/or practices. 

Arlington Center for Innovation

A part of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the Center strives to stimulate new idea and product innovation throughout the city and region.

PinnStation

Launched in 2016, PinnStation is a unique work and collaboration space available for daily, weekly and monthly rental, or a 10-use punch card with no time limit. Mentoring and programming are also offered.

Schaefer Art Bronze

Since 1972, Joe Schaefer’s studio has been known as the premier foundry for casting the finest quality of lost wax bronze art work possible at a fair price.

Sparks Studio Art Classes and Gallery

Sparks hosts special multi-media gallery exhibitions by award-winning artists, creative paintings, mixed media and experimental art as well as innovative classes by recognized instructors.

Startup Lounge at UT Arlington

A new, interdisciplinary meeting place, the Startup Lounge encourages and assists entrepreneurs and creatives as they begin the journey toward invention, product or process.

Studio Space Arlington

Founded in 2007 and dedicated to providing affordable and high quality studio space to creatives throughout the metropex, Studio Space offers spacious studios, lights, backdrops, make-up area and reception area.

Studio 204

After rescuing and resurrecting vintage letterpress equipment, Virgil Scott and Kim Neiman opened Studio 204 in 2008. Their work utilizes vintage wood type, metal type and hand-carved linoleum block images to create custom projects for clients, gallery exhibitions and retail.

Upstairs Gallery

Eleanor Grace Martin and fellow artists founded The Upstairs Gallery in 1967 to celebrate local artists, highlight their unique work and offer on-going learning opportunities.

Urban Design Center, City of Arlington

The Center promotes sustainable urban design by offering clients free design services to help envision redevelopment projects in their earliest stages and assist in getting them off the ground.

UT Arlington FabLab

A creative hub for students and faculty of the UT Arlington and the North Texas community, providing access to technologies, equipment, training, opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, industry mentors, and inspirational spaces in support of invention and entrepreneurship.

How do you get creative?

How do you utilize Downtown’s creative spaces? Are there any others we should know about? Tell us in the comments section below or tag us when you tweet and post: @dtarlington and #authenticallyArlington

About Downtown Arlington

Ranked as one of the top urban districts in the country in 2016 by TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals, Downtown Arlington Texas blends a unique mix of activities, sights, tastes and sounds that attract visitors and locals alike. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown Arlington is home to a top tier public university, prolific cultural arts institutions and live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Downtown Arlington brings together a plethora of cultures and inspirations with a character all its own.