Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter, Issue No. 62

Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter, Issue No. 62

Special Report: LMCC’s Workspace Program

The Con Edison Immigrant Artist Newsletter provides artist opportunities on a monthly basis. From our research, one of the most popular categories is residency programs. Artist and Mentor Liene Bosquê arranged for Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program participants to meet with Will Penrose, Program Manager, Artists Residencies, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC); below is a summary of what we learned.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) empowers artists by providing them with networks, resources, and support to create vibrant, sustainable communities in Lower Manhattan and beyond. They do this through offering multiple grant awards, a suite of professional development workshops, and several artist residency programs. To demonstrate the role artists play in the communities where they make and share their work, LMCC also presents public engagement initiatives such as the annual River To River Festival and a year round calendar of Open Studios. All of their activities are free to participating artists. To access all of the multiple areas of support, or learn more about their public events visit

LMCC’s artist residency programs are either open to applications (Workspace, and SPARC: Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide, and the Paris Residency) or nomination based. (Process Space, and Extended Life Dance Development). Process Space and Extended Life provide for mid-career and established artists who are invited to participate through LMCC’s network of cultural partners and independent arts professionals. These residencies are focused on providing dedicated space to develop projects. This invitation-based process allows artists working in more subtle practices that don’t translate well in work samples to be put forward by partners that know their artwork on a more intimate basis.
LMCC’s highly regarded Workspace program offers 25-30 individuals access to nine months of dedicated studio time. These studios are located in vacant office space in Lower Manhattan made possible by generous real estate partners. The program provides artists from all disciplines with the time and space to create work, develop their creative practice, take artistic risks, and build a network of peers and arts professionals. Workspace is an extremely competitive program, with over 1,400 applicants on a yearly basis. LMCC offers information sessions, which can help you put your best foot forward.


So what makes a strong Workspace application? Will shared some tips and advice from being part of the selection process since he joined LMCC in 2010. For this application, multi-disciplinary artists choose from one main area: visual, literary, and performing arts. Each panel has 4-6 jurors whochange annually, with specific professionals for different disciplines. We extracted some main points below that may be helpful for the upcoming 2015 application, as well as for other opportunities.

  • Approach your application as a creative project in itself:
    • Have consistency in your work sample and proposal of your artistic vision
    • Artist statement – be specific and clear to you and your practice. Don’t include jargon.
    • Include a brief description to orient panelists and provide context for your work
    • Edit for accuracy and be judicious
  • Provide examples of work from the past 3-5 years
  • Good to show progression in the work
  • Include 2-3 images from each project if working in multiple media
  • Jury is already familiar with your medium so focus on your practice and ideas
  • Submit your best work; show proof you can make the work to establish trust in your proposal
  • Avoid redundancy in text and images
  • Test video work samples
  • Start video work samples from a compelling point
  • Put yourself in the jurors’ seat:
    • Answer questions that might come up with your work samples in your narrative

Some general tips include:

  • Prepare
  • Be professional
  • Follow guidelines & ask questions at information sessions
  • Get feedback
  • Keep applying because panels change every year

The application for Workspace 2015–2016 opens in December 2014. Click here: to sign up for their mailing list where you will be notified about the open call announcement and the other opportunities LMCC offers artists all year long.  Their Professional Development programs will be announced in the early spring and will cover topics such as arts and entrepreneurship, emergency resources, marketing, grant-writing, finances, and fundraising. These free workshops can be valuable to artists at all career stages. Learn more here:


Liene Bosquê participated in LMCC’s Workspace 2013–2014 at One Liberty Plaza, watching the Freedom Tower being built during her residency. Being in the residency changed her perspective on everyday life, being aware of how the neighborhood changed from weekday to weekend. The environment fostered the relationship to architecture in her work, seen through her Monuments series. The residency provided a network of peers, access to arts professionals, profiling on the website, and interaction with a wider public through open studios. Liene was able to apply and benefit from Visiting Artist Status that allows Workspace participants to get access to partner services such as New York University’s Advanced Media Studios where Liene created laser cut vinyl cityscapes that mirror the architecture around them. You can see a site-specific example at NYFA, now on semi-permanent display from the exhibition Pangea, 2013.

Liene also shared other residency programs she participated in that supported her transition from Brazil, her country of origin, to work as an artist in New York City. They all provided space and time to create new work, including New York Art Residency and Studios (NARS) Foundation,  LES Studio Program, Artist Alliance, Inc., and ACRE, some free or subsidized.  Liene pointed out that not all art practices are suited to residency opportunities, and that being flexible is important in making the most of the opportunity, as you may have to work within certain restrictions. 

Enjoyed reading this article? Visit our archive of past interviews with artists and organizations. You can also sign up for our free monthly Con Edison Immigrant Artist Newsletter and visit IAP’s resource directory that includes opportunities and resources focused on supporting immigrant artists in the New York Metropolitan area and beyond. 

Images, from top: Guests enjoying Open Studios in LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island, Photo by Whitney Browne © Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Molly Dilworth, participant in LMCC’s Workspace 2012–2013, Robert Minell © Lower Manhattan Cultural Council;  Liene Bosquê, Ricordo 2013. Photo by Olivia Valentine.
Amy Aronoff
Posted on:
Post author