Artspace is a contemporary art gallery and non-profit organization located in downtown New Haven, Connecticut. Artspaces mission is to catalyze artistic activities; connect contemporary artists, audiences, and resources; and to enrich art experiences and activate art spaces. Since its founding in 1987, Artspace has helped nearly 3,000 artists in the greater New Haven area develop their careers. Artspace presents gallery exhibitions, outdoor installations, a major annual Open Studios festival, and a teen education program. Artspace has been recognized for its artistic merit by the National Endowment for the Arts, the LEF Foundation, and the Tremaine and Warhol foundations. The Artspace gallery, located at 50 Orange St., New Haven, houses 5,000 square feet (460 m2) of storefront in the Ninth Square neighborhood for exhibitions, workshops, and staff offices. Artspace was conceived as early as 1984, by a group of New Haven-based visual and performing artists in response to the elimination of a promised gallery space dedicated to local artists in the Shubert, a prominent local theater. Convinced that local visual art and performance needed an alternative showcase, they created Artspace with a mission to nurture and preserve the arts, focusing especially on artists and audiences in the greater New Haven area. The name Artspace originally described the permanent space and black box reserved for local artists and performers that was promised but never delivered by the Shubert. In its next incarnation without a permanent home, the name became an umbrella for a variety of projects. Its founders loved the irony of using the name "Artspace" while operating without a space, appropriating found spaces as "art spaces," including factory buildings (former manufacturers of tires, rifles, corsets, cash registers, and Erector Sets), public libraries, public schools, public greenways, city buses, and old malls and storefronts. Officially starting in 1987, it operated a lively exhibition and performance space in a new facility which it purchased and helped build at 70 Audubon Street, in the emerging Audubon arts district downtown. More than 120 major exhibitions were organized, many addressing social issues relevant to New Havens urban community. Programs included an annual small theater festival, monthly showcases of musicians, poets, and performance artists, and a jazz series, which evolved into the regions first jazz non-profit organization, JazzHaven. The Summer Arts for Youth (SAY!) Mentoring Program for inner city youth paired local artists with high school students for a summer apprenticeship and exhibition. In 1998, the Artspace Board determined that the organization could more effectively reach the constituency it was intended to serve if relieved of the substantial costs of carrying prime New Haven real estate. The Board approved a plan to restore the financial stability of the organization and voted to sell the gallery and performance space to the Educational Center for the Arts. Until 2002, Artspace was again without a home. Now, it is back in a gallery space under a city subsidy.