City opens up affordable art space in Long Island City
City artists seeking a new pad to show off their work can now head to Long Island City.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened the Spaceworks LIC building Tuesday and began offering applications for musical and dance artists to rent any part of the 3,800 square foot space for their projects.
The building, located at 33-02 Skillman Ave., is the first of five affordable art spaces that will be located throughout the city as part of the non-profit group initiative to attract and enrich talent.
"Arts and culture is thriving in every neighborhood in all five boroughs, and supporting the artists who make up New York City's creative community is critical," the mayor said in a statement.
The Spaceworks Queens building includes three large rehearsal spaces for dance and theater and one music practice studio. Rehearsal studios will cost $12 to $16 a month, depending on size and locaiton, while visual art space will rent for $350 a month at the pilot space in Long Island City.
Eun Young Choi, program director at the New York Art Residency & Studio Foundation, lauded the initiative as a way to let artists focus more on their work and less on scrounging for money to cover ever-increasing studio rent.
"Most artists have to make a living and then have this extra fee each month to pay for a studio and pay for materials," Choi said.
Choi said the Sunset Park-based nonprofit is in the middle of relocating elsewhere in the neighborhood after the landlord of their previous industrial space jacked up rents 47%, forcing about 50 artists to find another space.
She estimated that affordable studio space should for around $500 a month for a spacious 500-600 square feet.
"The more affordable it is, the more time they'll have to work in the spaces."
The $200,000 project is completely privately funded. Applicants must be New York residents, present a portfolio and resume and pay a $10 fee to be considered.
Other locations that are under consideration for a Spaceworks building are Gowanus, Williamsburg and Governor's Island.
"As we evolve our model working with the creative community on each site, we look forward to the impact that this public-private partnership will have on the lives of artists throughout New York City, and on the City as a whole," Spaceworks Executive Director Paul Parkhil said in a statement.
The mayor has pushed for a bigger art scene in the city and supported several projects over the years such as the Brooklyn Bridge waterfall and the art space near City Hall park.
How the program works
Under the Spaceworks program, city artists can rent out state of the art rooms in newly created buildings for an affordable price to showcase their talents.
Interested artists can log onto spaceworksnyc.org and check out information and images of the art spaces.
Applicants must submit an online application, which comes with a $10 fee, as well as four art samples, an artist statement, a statement indicating how the applicant intends to use the space and a resume for consideration.
If approved, the applicant will receive a Spaceworks card which can be used as a key to access rehearsal facilities during reserved timeslots, and can request a specific space in advance by visiting the Spaceworks website.