Tacoma’s successful downtown efforts to combine vacant commercial space with artistic entrepreneurs, Spaceworks, has expanded into the Town of Ruston effective today.

Nationally recognized artist Kerry Cole, owner of The Blue Octopus, opened in the main floor of what formerly was the state liquor store at 5013 N. Pearl St. with an art gallery, painting studio and space to offer painting parties.

Spaceworks Tacoma has provided Cole with business training, one-on-one consultation and marketing support, in addition to facilitating the real estate connection. The Octopus had operated at a co-operative space in downtown Tacoma.

The owners of the Ruston building, John & Karen Trueman, have provided with 6 months free rent because they wanted to activate the first floor of a previously vacant building.

“Looking at the Spaceworks success rate, which we understood to be 80 percent, we also felt that there is a very good chance that our (new) tenant will sign a lease with us to continue the business when the Spaceworks lease is up,” the Truemans said. “So to us, it’s a ‘win win’ situation and well worth the effort.”

Normally open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., there will be special hours for today’s grand opening, and a reception begins at 6 p.m. Details can be found at www.theblueoctopus.com.