Alma Mater, a Tacoma collaborative art house, officially opened its doors April 15. The multifunctional space caters to community artists of all kinds. Musicians, writers, physical artists, theater productionists and even more can be accommodated in Alma Mater’s newly renovated space.
This union hall turned art haven is situated on Fawcett Avenue just blocks away from UW Tacoma. Alma Mater features a bar, brunch restaurant, top notch coffee shop, art gallery, outdoor dining area and light filled recording studio. The biggest attraction, though, comes from its theater large enough to accommodate 500 — equipped with exceptional lighting and sound quality. Member artists can also utilize the workspace and kitchenette for hosting parties and classes or working on projects.
Jason Heminger, founder of Alma Mater, thought up the idea for the space after working in the education field in Colorado. In 2015, Heminger brought on his longtime friends Aaron Spiro and Rachel Ervin — a UWT alumna and past editor of Tahoma West. Since then, the Tacoma community has been excitedly awaiting and investing in the space.
Honey, the in-house bistro and cafe, serves amazing coffee with an authentic and artisan feel. Unique menu items like cow heart steak and spiced tofu or potatoes and cauliflower will leave you slightly confused but completely satisfied. This space seems to emanate creativity in a way that could make you so inspired that you curl up and write the next great American novel.
While the bar isn’t quite finished, what captures the most attention is the art itself.
When walking into Alma Mater, you’re immediately greeted by local art. Currently featured are artists Nicole McCarthy and Caitlin Obom. Their piece “On the Ave of Temporality & Memory” features videos of Tacoma and quote dawned maps. The thought provoking quotes linger with you and remind you of the concept of home and how we conceptualize it both individually and as a society.
Another piece of art worth checking out at Alma Mater is “The Port,” an audio-visual experience by Peter Berkley and Heminger situated in an unassuming closet. Inside is set up with a projector and headphones so you can tune in and charge your brain.
“When you start thinking about home you can’t really tie it to a place, it could be anywhere, it’s really ultimately a state of mind or a state of being,” Berkeley said. “I was trying to replicate that state of being on a subconscious level using patterns and sound.”