NYC artists find half the battle is studio rent

According to the census, 124,000 New Yorkers identified themselves as artists, writers or photographers in 2010.

By Associated Press - Source: http://www.brooklyneagle.com

For artists in New York, finding affordable studio or rehearsal space or places to showcase their work can be challenging. Curate NYC focuses on getting artist exposure through an annual showcase in which artists are chosen by guest curators from institutions like the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. AP Photo/Curate NYC 2013, Ed Marshall

For artists in New York, finding affordable studio or rehearsal space or places to showcase their work can be challenging. Curate NYC focuses on getting artist exposure through an annual showcase in which artists are chosen by guest curators from institutions like the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. AP Photo/Curate NYC 2013, Ed Marshall


For artists in New York — one of the world’s most expensive cities — finding stable, affordable places to create and showcase their work can be challenging. A growing number of programs are offering solutions.

According to the census, 124,000 New Yorkers identified themselves as artists, writers or photographers in 2010. Many face a constant struggle to find stable, affordable workspaces — a problem that’s been growing for decades and is now reaching a critical point, said Paul Parkhill, executive director of Spaceworks, a nonprofit spearheaded in 2011 by the Department of Cultural Affairs to transform underused public and private building spaces into permanent artist workspaces.

“We get a lot of stories about people moving from studio to studio every year or two,” he said, citing once-affordable neighborhoods like Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Red Hook as now out of reach.

“But despite the economic challenges, New York is a place where artists want to be,” Parkhill said.

Spaceworks’ two visual art spaces in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood rent for $350 per month — about 50 to 60 percent below market value. In Long Island City, Queens, Spaceworks’ three theater, dance and music spaces rent for $12 to $16 per hour. It was a godsend when renovations forced the Mabou Mines/Suite theater ensemble to leave its lower Manhattan location.

“We were delighted to find the spaces are generous in size, clean, with sprung floors,” said co-artistic director Sharon Fogarty; the rent would have been triple elsewhere.

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