Our Mission & History

Make.Shift Art Space is a DIY art and music venue dedicated to innovative, alternative and unusual art and music. The 8,000-square-foot space includes an art gallery, live all-ages music venue and 18 individual art and music studios. Here we provide a home for painters, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, musicians, and whoever else needs an affordable place to make a mess and show it off.

Make.Shift is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our mission is to provide low-cost programs that help emerging artists and musicians succeed.

Make.Shift is also home to The Documentary Center, stringed instrument repairman The Guitar Doctor, guitar luthier Devin Champlin, and Mellis Photo, a printing and framing shop. Check em out!

OUR HISTORY

In 2008 the economy tanked, gas prices were through the roof, and musicians were struggling to find a way to fit into an industry that was changing rapidly with advances in technology. A small group of young Bellingham musicians, promoters and fans came together in to see how they could help — and Make.Shift was born.

After nearly a year of bureaucracy and fundraising to get 501c3 nonprofit status, Make.Shift’s first program, The Magic Van, was underway. With the initial mission of supporting local musicians and lightening their environmental impact, our biodiesel van was free to local musicians who didn’t have a touring van, helping more than a dozen local bands tour as far away as California and Idaho. Make.Shift soon added the Power Wheels program — two bicycle-powered generators that powered dozens of live shows and events. For years Make.Shift was run out of volunteers’ homes while we searched for a central headquarters.

In 2011 Make.Shift purchased the business Jinx Art Space, and took over the lease where that gallery and studio space was operating at 306 Flora St. Reopening under Make.Shift’s management in October 2011, our mission and direction changed to accommodate our new programs — an art gallery, art and music studios, and a music venue.

After letting the Magic Van and Power Wheels programs go, we were able to focus completely on creating a safe, healthy community art and music hub. We’re excited to see what the future holds!

Check out our Contact page to get in touch.