Many artists pay two monthly rents: one for studio space and another for housing. The growing problem is compounded by gentrification, with artists unable to afford to live in the neighborhoods they helped to pioneer. Consequently, cities are facing the threat of losing their thriving arts communities that generate tourist dollars, encourage economic development, create jobs, and fosters community pride.
Last month, through an innovative program called ArtCondo, a group of artists and one nonprofit purchased a 6,400 square foot lot in New York City’s South Bronx – that will become 20,000 square feet of artist work/live spaces, studio work spaces, timeshares for non-local artists, and a non-profit community facility space. ArtCondo was founded by artists Michele Gambetta and Matthew Fletcher. Other participants include: Amy Cheng, Barbara Broughel, Allan McCollum, Tracy Calvan, Gordon Fearey, and Glass Farm Ensemble. Participants leveraged their collective buying power to create a new and sustainable creative model with working spaces in NYC. For additional information: www.ArtCondo.com
Also in New York City, the mayor has pledged to provide 1,500 affordable housing units for artists and musicians by 2025.
Some of the other cities that are tackling the problem:
New Orleans, Bell Artspace Campus that will transform three buildings into 79 units of affordable live/work housing for low- to moderate-income artists, cultural workers and families. www.artspace.org/our-places/bell-artspace-campus
Tenneesee; The Housing Fund, a nonprofit organization received a $200,000 grant from the Kresge and Surdna Foundations to support the development of the purchase, purchase/rehabilitation, or new construction of artist live/work space in Middle Tennessee..
Dallas is planning an Arts District that would provide affordable housing and workspace for creative professionals ane their families.
Salt Lake City. Creates affordable housing and workspace for artists through the nonprofit organization Artspace. www.artspaceutah.org