Tacoma’s newest venue celebrates all things art, providing a new space for growth and expression.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Tacoma artists. Thursday evening kicked off Alma Mater: three days of festivities as the city’s newest venue for the arts opened its doors.

“It’s about celebrating the work that they’re already doing here and have been doing and giving them a home,” said Rachel Ervin, co-founder of Alma Mater.

She and her partners saw a void in Tacoma’s art scene; a place for artists to grow, to collaborate, to take it to the next level.

“It seems like in art, especially nowadays, you’re not just a single disciplined artist,” said co-founder Jason Heminger. “If you’re a musician you also have to know about graphic design. You have to know about visual art, you have to know about cinematography. And if you don’t know about it then you need to be able to collaborate with other artists who do.”

Budding artist Tiffanny Hammonds grew up in Hilltop. She’s watched as gentrification gradually eroded her neighborhood, putting more people on the street; people she knows.

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