Jim Jansen is extremely grateful for his studio/home at the Warehouse Artist Lofts (WAL) in Sacramento. Opened in early 2015, residents of the affordable community all have one thing in common: they are all working artists.
“This is an amazing community. It’s different,” Jansen, 68, says. “This place keeps me feeling alive. The community members, young and old, don’t take this community lightly.”
Jansen wasn’t always an artist. A business owner for over 20 years, Jim was living the American Dream. He owned a home, cars, a boat, and he had just expanded his business. But, due to a combination of the Great Recession and contractual difficulties with a state agency, he eventually lost everything. “Starting over in business wasn’t really an option for me,” he says. “And early Social Security would pay out $500 per month. But, I had an art degree from Long Beach State, so I thought I’d put it to use.”
A visual artist with a mirthful spirit, Jim began specializing in rendering paintings with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) as a theme. He was living with his sister when he learned about WAL. He was one of the first artists to be accepted into the new community. The affordable apartment homes are designed to also be studio spaces for visual artists like Jim. There is also an on-site dance studio, and a jam room for musicians. The development also includes ground-floor retail space that creates an intimate, inclusive community. “Like I said, this place is different. The management, especially James (Kinloch), our community manager, really understands our needs and supports us.
“Having LifeSTEPS here is also an incredible asset. If I have a challenge, the LifeSTEPS representative is here. I don’t have to make an appointment or go through some bureaucratic process and wait three weeks to be heard or get some help.”