It indeed has been a long time since we updated this blog. Why is this? Well, it’s primarily because we realized we needed to look at the problem of housing for artists through a different lens and it took us a while to realize what it was.
Bad News First
First the bad news. You have to have a very low income to qualify for housing. This is a great thing for those who are challenged financially – and we commend the city for helping out those in need – but it makes it demotivating for those of us who are in a different place financially but of not much more of an income. It seems that those of us who are somewhere just below the middle have the hardest time. We’re not rich enough to buy a building and create artist housing ourselves, nor is our income low enough to qualify for digs for creative people.
Good News Second
But now the good news. The good news is that there is no more bad news. That’s about as good as the news is going to be for those in the lower region of the middle. But that doesn’t mean we have given up the fight. Quite the contrary. In our seeming hiatus from this blog, we’ve learned a lot about what it’s going to take to make artist housing happen. It’s going to be a challenge but what good thing hasn’t been. More on this to come!
Lower than normal prices in Chelsea NY, NY, are still out of the reach of most artists of all kinds including ArtisticPreneurs. It doesn’t matter if you’re a painter or filmmaker or musician and more, the same problem exists: how does one get a decent place to live at a decent price so she or he can advance her or his creative work? Here’s what Curbed.com uncovered in the desirable area of Chelsea, Manhattan:
“For the studios, rent prices range between $702 to $2,132 a month; one-bedrooms are priced from $753 to $2,674; and two-bedrooms rent for prices that fall between $910 and $3,216 per month. The development also plans to offer tenants a 4,560-square-foot community room, laundry room, a roof deck, and bike storage. The project also promises to rehabilitate the playground and basketball court at the nearby Fulton Houses.”
How Do These “Deals” Come About?
Let’s face it, even though the prices we just showed are not affordable for many a creative person or ArtisticPreneur, it’s still a step in the right direction. How do these lower cost opportunities come about? Curbed.com went on to illustrate:
“As part of the rezoning that allowed the 2006 rezoning in West Chelsea to move, the city agreed to create more affordable apartments within the neighborhood. Making good on their promise, the New York City Housing Authority is constructing an 18-story building at 425 West 18th Street, where a parking lot once stood, reports City Realty.”
We don’t get a chance to update this site as much as we would like. Though, if you come across any housing deals for creatives please let us know. We appreciate it. Until next time, happy hunting!
I’ve actually been there while seeing a dance performance. Westbeth is very nice artist’s housing. It provides affordable living and working spaces for artists and their families. Westbeth originally opened in 1970 through National Endowment for the Arts funding along with help from the J.M. Kaplan Foundation. Although it has a long waiting list, this artist housing building offers affordable live/work spaces and an array of cultural activities.
New York Foundation for the Arts
New York Foundation for the Arts describes itself on its website as: “A nonprofit service organization that provides the concrete resources that working artists and emerging arts organizations need to thrive.” A part of the resources that it provides includes information on artist’s live/work spaces. Contact the NYFA today for more information live/work space.
City Realty Takes a Look Back at Soho
Although it is no longer available for emerging artists, according to City Realty, Soho used to be looked at as a last resort for artists. It may be difficult for many New Yorkers to believe that in the early 1970s, Soho was considered a place for struggling artists. A story from the NY Times describes Soho as the only area left in Manhattan where the loft space [artists] need is still available at reasonable rates. But even in 1970 when Soho was still an affordable (though crime ridden) option for artists, there were concerns about the neighborhood’s transformation by the real estate community.
Actor’s Fund’s Brooklyn Housing for those in Entertainment
The Actor’s Fund is for everyone in entertainment. The Schermerhorn is the name of a new development that The Actors Fund is spearheading in conjunction with Breaking Ground Community are developing this unique, 217-unit residence for single adults in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn. The Schermerhorn also houses The Actors Fund Arts Center, a 2,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art performance space and multipurpose room. Residents and community arts organizations may use this space for rehearsals, performances, films and exhibitions, enriching the vibrant and growing Brooklyn arts culture.
The NYCED and Far Rockaway Village Per Times Ledger
The NYCED’s news and press release section of their website is where you can find info on some of the latest spaces such as this one in Far Rockaway. If you’re willing to relocate to Far Rockaway and your income is a fit for admission, there are possible opportunities there.
According to the Times Ledger, Far Rockaway Village will provide a 23,000-square-foot public plaza, 92,000 square feet of commercial space and 450,892 square feet of residential space for the first phase of the project by 2021. Additional housing units and commercial space will be added after the initial stage, according to Ryan Birchmeier, an EDC spokesman.
Curbed Calls Artists a Persistent Bunch When it Comes to Housing
Curbed says that as recent as 2017, at a time when rents push the limit, there are more artists living in New York City than ever before. CUF released a study that finds that confirms this. What can we learn from this? Being an artist and finding housing requires tenacity.
Artists Can Benefit from NYC GOV’s New York City Housing Lottery
There is one place where you can get information about affordable rental and purchase opportunities including HDC-financed developments. Where? The NYC.gov websites provides resources that include The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), Mitchell-Lama Housing Developments and ultimately general information about housing in the City. All this and more can be found at NYC.gov.
The desire of many artists and ArtisticPreneurs – including musicians, writers, filmmakers etc. – is to live in the city, New York, Los Angeles and so on. But in point of fact due to the internet, many creatives of a variety of different art forms don’t necessarily have to reside in a metropolis.
From an artist housing perspective this makes things easier because the cost of living is often less outside of the big urban areas. This means that an artist can do her or his work in a place that the overhead is not so steep. This makes making art a lot easier.
There’s nothing wrong with not living in the hustle and bustle. There is all kinds of inspiration to be found in smaller communities. And most artist’s work can be shared on the web.
So if you are feeling the pinch and want to save money so you can focus on your creativity, consider residing in a more serene and cost effective environment. Many artists are doing it.
And no matter where you are located you can still apply your artistic abilities toward that of being an entrepreneur, also known as ArtisticPreneur.
NYC Create is a relatively new website but it’s already having an impact on the “Art Scene” in New York City. And as such, is helping A.I.R. (Artist Introvert Revolution) make headway with their goal of establishing affordable living quarters for every kind of artist – musicians, writers, filmmakers etc. – in NYC. It has been an intense several months exploring many different options including partnering with the small arts organization Lights Camera Read. Lights Camera Read is a nonprofit fiscally sponsored organization committed to breaking artists free of thinking of themselves as “Starving Artists.” And at the start it seemed that LCR was going to really help with the cause but then the new tax code was passed which has negatively impacted small arts organizations, especially those primarily depending on middle income donors. The reason for the negative impact is that middle income donors have had the motivation taken away from them to give to nonprofits. Why? Because most middle income folks will not be doing itemized deductions on their taxes and instead will likely take the standard deduction. All this is a long way of saying that Lights Camera Read is focusing on revitalizing their organization and are able to give less time to A.I.R. in terms of creating housing for creatives. But thank goodness for NYC Create. They have the mission to help artists promote themselves, build their audience and ultimately monetize their art. NYC Create has been quite helpful with getting the word out. We’ll update you soon on how the collaboration with NYC Create is getting us closer to making artist housing a reality in New York City!
The revolution is on! The Artist Introvert Revolution that is. And this revolution could be a part of revolutionizing housing. Here’s how it works:
A group of introvert artists have come together to form a collective. This is kind of ironic in a way, since “introvert” means not being social. But this is not a social based organization. It is a purpose based organization and a part of its mission has to do with Artist Housing. The idea is to think outside of the box and in this instance it means that members of Artist Introvert Revolution or A.I.R. are coming together to gather data about building and land opportunities. At the moment it’s not really a “buyer’s market,” but with a group working on it, maybe the right opportunity will emerge. This approach is in reaction to the discovery that you had to be really very poor – poverty level – to qualify for any of the city’s affordable housing.
Over the last week or so we’ve been primarily concentrating on receiving applications in the mail from buildings and then filling out these forms. What is our big takeaway?
Well, it is that there certainly are many opportunities for artists in the “NYC Housing Lottery” world, but if you are an artist who wants to find a space to live it is best if you are truly a “Starving Artist.”
What do we mean by that? The answer is that you must truly have a low income to qualify for these great apartments. Very low. So for those artists who have low incomes this is great news but for those artists with “medium” incomes, not so great news.
Speaking of artists, just a reminder that the Platinum Pias Community Awards Show for Artists in NYC is going to be exactly two weeks from today. There is more information on this go-to event on the Platinum Pias website.
The NYC Housing Lottery PDF I got a couple of days ago is still in use! As mentioned, this PDF covers all five boroughs. At first there was one main borough that we wanted to seek an apartment in, but then in time we realized that there was another borough we were interested in too. So today we went through the PDF again and copied and pasted from the list to make a new list of just this borough.
We’ve barely begun the journey of finding artist’s housing and already it is almost overwhelming. But if one keeps one’s eye on the prize and simply gets through daily activities (or even just a few a week) there is certain to be a happy ending! If you are following along with us, keep going, we’ll get there!
Today was an exercise in the art of writing and sealing envelopes. We took all the addresses we selected from the PDF from yesterday and sent them SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelopes).
We believe that this entire project of finding affordable housing for artists is itself going to be an exercise in tenacity and patience. Even just the act of sending envelopes to seven property managers (two of them from from the original nine from yesterday took our address over the phone) was a bit challenging.
But the key seems to be to pace yourself and don’t give yourself too much to do on a daily basis. Keep it focused and consistent!
Artists, in the end you write your own story. Whether you have affordable housing or not is equal to the amount of work you put into it. For an artist to achieve having a place to live that frees her or him to be able to focus on her or his art, requires an effort. It also necessitates starting in the first place. Follow this link for a good place to begin https://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/2076/new-york-city-housing-lottery. Now write your own housing story.