Inscape Arts and Cultural Center – Seattle, Washington - Atlas Obscura

Inscape Arts and Cultural Center

This former INS center is now home to a thriving community of artists, from performers to painters to architects. 

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The Inscape Arts and Cultural Center houses the offices, studios, and performance spaces of scores of artists, but it used to house detained immigrants as a major processing center for the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services.

The Inscape building is home to artists both emerging and publicly known. Midnight Tea and Red Lineage artist Natasha Marin, photographer Nate Gowdy, and author Lindy West all have offices or studios here, alongside design firms, theatrical stages, and the Tibetan Nuns Project. In the halls just outside these rooms, remnants of the building’s darker history are prominent on every floor.

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, less than half a mile away, has collaborated with Inscape to preserve the history of this building through art installations, historical photography, and metal plaques throughout the building. Visitors can learn about the history of immigration in the United States and specifically through Seattle, even as immigrant Americans themselves are creating art a few steps away.

Know Before You Go

Self-guided building tours are available by appointment. Hours vary. Please call 206-458-2716 or email donnellyinscape@gmail.com to arrange a visit.