As an artist, deciding to find a studio can feel like things are finally getting real. Not only is it a commitment to paying extra rent, it's also a commitment to your craft, a pact with yourself (and your landlord) that you take your artistic endeavors seriously. As you sleep in your bedroom or cook in your kitchen, a studio is a space designated for chasing the creative muse through hard work. But, how do you find a place that inspires and motivates you without making your bank account cry? Writer and artist Angella D'Avignon has some tips on finding the dream studio in your city.
As an artist and writer, my studio has always been my kitchen table, only once did I have a magical sunroom that I shared with my painter roommate. Even though the space was small, having an entire space dedicated to work was glorious. Once you've decided you want to find a studio it can be hard to know where to start.
Of course, real estate isn't the same across the nation, so price-point and availability will shift respectively city to city, neighborhood to borough. Here are a few tips and places to get you started on your hunt for the perfect studio.
In Los Angeles, sites like Art House Lofts, Imperial Art Studios, and Keystone Art Space list availabilities as they come through on their website. Retrofitted into old industrial buildings, these mostly downtown (or nearby) lofted rooms are spacious but clean, with funky historic features like old radiators or huge, glass paneled windows. Worth it!
In New York, Brooklyn Fireproof, and Brokelyn are all good resources that focus on helping you find an art studio in Brooklyn. Check out Brooklyn Arts Council's website for links and complete listings. The advantageous thing about these types of studio spaces is that they often have open studio events where you can go meet the residents and check out the vibe of the building to see if it's a right fit for you.
Word of Mouth
In the past, word of mouth has lead me to some of the best live/work spaces. Usually the space (and any possible new studio-mates) come vetted by friends or acquaintances and you get to stay within your network. Joining apartment or studio Facebook groups is a great start to keep up to date on available real estate.
Another great option is WeWork, a company that provides shared workspace for creative professionals. They offer varying degrees of membership and desk space ranging from a personal desk in a common, shared space to an entirely private office. The Listings Project is another national listing service that updates on a regular basis.
A short term option is to apply to residencies or fellowships. Since most of them are at cost to you as an artist, there are tons of resources available like grants or work study programs. Residencies allow you to travel, bunk with fascinating people you would never otherwise meet, and they often provide daily meals and facilities to help you get work done. Check out Willapa Bay or Vermont Studio Center to start. (Hot tip: I keep a bookmark folder in my browser anytime I come across a cool residency so when it's my time to apply, I have a huge list at hand.)
And if all else fails, there is always good old Craigslist. Never underestimate the utilitarian charm of an unused rented garage space! Why not keep it cheap and local?
Photos via Scout and Catalogue