i'll be very upfront and say that i do have arts nfp grant application expierence, but really hate development work. we need to be a nfp to look at grants, not necessarily 501c3, but it's a decent place to start at.
imho, the way we'll probably manage this is somethign along these lines:
get organized while doign some group projecty sorts of things, form a 501c3, do some thigns out of someone's garage for a few months while we build a modest ammount of cash and get some membership, more than can meet in a garage, and appear committed to being around for a while, get a real estate agent, find a few spaces that will fit our needs, get a grant or gift from sponsor(s) to buy the space, or secure financing, find an architect willing to donate time, remodel it ourselves with proper permits, and code compliance, getting licensed trades in as appropriate, ideally donated time, and start doign classes to build membership asap while remodeling continues.
the other option is find a chunk of capital and build a business that does this, which will probably be a wealthy investor (in this economy) hiring a few folks as staff, and getting our input for free to make a money making business (like make mag)