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!
The Actors Fund, Housing for Everyone in Entertainment
If you haven’t looked into Actors Fund housing options because you worry you don’t qualify since you’re not an actor, look again.
The Actors Fund and their housing programs provide housing for EVERYONE in entertainment! This includes but is not limited to those working in theater, film, television, radio, music, dance, opera and circus. Entertainment job descriptions include screenwriters, musicians, stage hands, gaffers, technicians and so on.
See if You Fit into The Actors Fund’s Vision and Mission.
“Vision: The Actors Fund envisions a world in which individuals contributing to our country’s cultural vibrancy are supported, valued and economically secure.
Mission: The Actors Fund fosters stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan.”
Here is More Information About The Actors Fund as Seen on Their website
Do either of the following two paragraphs from The Actors Fund resonate with you?
“Employment in any division of the performing arts and entertainment industry is unpredictable. Work is erratic, security is fleeting and health insurance is often just a dream. For all of these reasons and many more, The Actors Fund is an indispensable and deeply significant part of the entire entertainment community.
As a national organization with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, we directly serve thousands of performing arts and entertainment professionals across the country every year, in person and via our online resources. Our programs are wide in scope, responsive in nature and produce significant results.”
It’s Up to You to Take Action
As we stated at the beginning of this post, there’s no harm in looking. Look again at actorsfund.org. If you’re a New Yorker you can call them right now at 800.221.7303 or email is the following firstname.lastname@example.org. Break a leg!
National Headquarters–New York City
729 Seventh Avenue, 10th floor
New York, NY 10019
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.
We’ve decided that the first step toward developing housing for actors and artists is to develop an artistic community. The belief is that by doing this first and making artist’s housing an agenda of the group, progress will be made.
Interesting to note, the newsletter NYC Make a Difference recently featured artist’s housing as a topic and the response received more than any other thus far, so we know we are on the right track!
We started a blog called “NYC Housing Lottery” with the intention of helping artists to find affordable artist’s housing. We discovered you needed to be a true “starving artist” at below poverty level to qualify for most of the artists housing. We were happy for the actual “starving artist” but what about the person working three jobs just to stay afloat and is therefore considered too solvent? This person deserves affordable artist’s housing also!
You see, we don’t believe artists should starve in the first place, which is why our alliance of “Blogs for the Arts” or BFTA promotes an artistic entrepreneurial approach for artists to empower themselves with the mindset of being a successful artist entrepreneur.
In fact, BFTA gives helpful tips to artists wanting to make a difference and change in their communities and internationally. Because of the overwhelming need we have seen for affordable artist’s housing for moderately “starving artists” our strategy for “NYC Housing Lottery” has changed.
“NYC Housing Lottery” going forward will examine progressive and innovative ways for artists to find housing – including building it themselves! If you would like to join this conversation please respond back or tune into “NYC Housing Lottery.” Your feedback and input is greatly appreciated!
In Search of Housing for Artists and an Actualization of Their Goals