A home for Sacramento’s creative class.

by Janna Marlies Maron on October 5, 2010

We HEART Sactown. That might sound cheesy, but it’s true. Sacramento has long been the red-headed stepchild of California’s glamor cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. Well, we are tired of being treated like a second-rate city. There’s a lot of cool stuff happening, and you could say that Sacramento is finally coming into its own. We’ve got a thriving midtown with a lot of residential mixed in with commercial, retail and restaurants, making it a highly walkable neighborhood. We’ve seen some awesome development in the last 5 years: the MAARS building, anchoring the heart of Midtown at 20th and J Streets, Ella Dining Room and Bar, The Citizen Hotel (a Joie de Vivre hotel), among others downtown. Our monthly art walk, 2nd Saturday, has turned into a city-wide block party that attracts thousands to our streets for art, live music, sidewalk vendors and a nightlife that just doesn’t exist in the suburbs.

We’re not the only ones taking notice of this renaissance. Most people you talk to would agree that there is “something” happening in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee published a nice overview of the cultural resurgence that has happened in the past decade. Sactown magazine made a huge splash on the market a mere three years ago, with an obvious (and somewhat ambitious) agenda to establish an identity that’s worthy of all Sacramento has to offer. More impressively, Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class and Who’s Your City, identified Sacramento as one of the top 10 most creative cities in the country. Impressive because, as Florida states in the preface to the 2004 paperback edition of The Rise of the Creative Class, Sacramento scores higher on his Creativity Index than it did when he first published the book in 2002.

Clearly “something” is going on in California’s capital city — it’s just different depending on who you talk to. The city is fragmented. There’s the art scene, the music scene, the local food scene, the social media scene, even a budding coworking scene. Sacramento elected its mayor Kevin Johnson largely on the platform of change (sound familiar?) — his promise to harness Sacramento’s potential for its debut on the stage to perform with the big players (those glamor cities we mentioned before). But exactly how to harness Sacramento’s potential hasn’t exactly been agreed upon — our city council keeps bickering over things like whether or not the Kings should have an NBA arena downtown, how to revitalize the K Street Mall and whether or not Sacramento should have a strong mayor. By the way, the argument over the strong mayor initiative is one that, as told to us by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper at the State of Downtown Breakfast in January, will only continue to stint Sacramento’s development. So while the city council argues, here at ThinkHouse we take matters into our own hands.

In the midst of fragmentation, people actively seek connection. The monthly SacTweetup, made popular in 2009 by Alejandro Reyes, regularly draws 100+ people. The Sacramento Press, a hyper-local online newspaper, hosts multiple community events on a monthly basis that are free to the public, and regularly draw 50-100 people. Other monthly events like meetups for writers, designers, young professionals, green industry professionals, Obama volunteers, and numerous others collectively create a calendar of events that could keep one person out and about, event hopping, every night for a month straight. While meetups are great, and we don’t discount the value they offer, we ask, where does a Creative Class professional go for support with the nitty-gritty, day-in and day-out of running an independent business? Where does that person go to develop a network of other Creative Class professionals that she can collaborate with on an as-needed basis, either casually bouncing around ideas and brainstorming or officially entering into a contract for a client project?

Enter ThinkHouse Collective, a coworking community for Sacramento’s Creative Class.

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