Sustainable Space: Partner Spotlight on ArtCondo
How can artists of all disciplines and creative workers meet the challenge of rising rents? ArtCondo’s answer: ownership.
Finding affordable places to live and work in New York City (and beyond) can feel like an insurmountable obstacle. As we wrote after attending a 2015 Art F City event, Stay in New York: The Affordable Workspace Conference, artists need to draw on their creativity, community-oriented spirit, and determination to find a suitable space in an ever-changing city.
Several organizations, like ArtBuilt, chashama, Fourth Arts Block, the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative (NYC REIC), and Spaceworks, have responded to the need for space to work, live, and present, by tapping into this creativity and collective power. A variety of space-finding tools are out there, like the NYFA Classifieds Spaces Directory, where an artist can find (or advertise) available short-term or long-term studio spaces and live/work spaces, or temporary event, exhibition, or rehearsal spaces. Artists can also search NYFA Classifieds Opportunities Listings for residencies, or NYFA Source for Space Awards and Artist-in-Residence Opportunities.
These options can meet an artist’s needs for as little as a few weeks or several years, but what if you’re ready for a more permanent option? While some artists and creative workers may value the flexibility that short-term real estate solutions provide, others are tired of chasing after affordability, and moving from neighborhood to neighborhood as the market changes.
Michele Gambetta, a New York City-based artist, recognized a solution: collective ownership. Along with Matthew Fletcher, she founded ArtCondo, a community-driven real estate enterprise, to help artists and creative workers leverage and transform their social capital into stability.
A Chance for Ownership
In January of 2017, a group of artists and a non-profit music group, Glass Farm Ensemble, banded together with ArtCondo to purchase an empty lot in Melrose, a South Bronx neighborhood. A mixed-income building, constructed to accommodate the unique needs of artists working in different media, will be constructed on the lot, and will include work studios, live-work spaces, and potentially space for neighborhood non-profits and exhibitions. Yvonne Troxler, a pianist and composer in Glass Farm Ensemble, refers to the space as a “dream come true.”
For ArtCondo, this space in the South Bronx is only the beginning; Gambetta and Fletcher hope to bring similar models to Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and New Jersey.
ArtCondo’s vision for the Melrose cooperative extends beyond just physical space. Living or working in the building will create opportunities for networking and collaboration, and that sense of community won’t be confined to the building itself. As Gambetta says, ArtCondo wants to avoid “parachuting in” to the neighborhood by engaging in dialogue with current residents, including local artists and cultural organizations. The building will be environmentally sustainable, and building rules will be crafted to protect artists by creating a safe building environment for all and preventing future displacement.
Interested in becoming part of this community or a future ArtCondo cooperative space? Want to learn about ArtCondo’s Co-working and Fractional, or timeshare, ownership models? To find out more, visit ArtCondo’s website, contact Gambetta at [email protected], or attend an upcoming info session.
– Mirielle Clifford, Program Associate, Online Resources
Images: courtesy of ArtCondo