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October 2013 | Grants Results

Paint, Dance, Sculpt, and Make Music for a Bargain

Musical ensemble thingNY plays at the recently opened Spaceworks LIC, which provides affordable rehearsal space for performing artists. Photo: Deneka Peniston

In the past few months, New York became a friendlier city for artists, and it’s about to get even friendlier.

The first of five Spaceworks facilities opened, welcoming performing artists to three well-equipped rehearsal rooms and a music studio in Long Island City, Queens. The cost? $12 to $16 an hour—about the same as a couple of minutes at traditional studios.

For visual artists, the first 200-square-foot studio spaces are set to open in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and will cost $350 a month. And that’s just the beginning. Spaceworks, a nonprofit hatched by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and supported by a $216,000 Trust grant, is developing 25,000 square feet of rehearsal and studio space across the City in the next couple of years (see map).

The organization also connects artists with institutions such as the Chocolate Factory Theater, the Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Trust for Governors Island. They’ll help Spaceworks hold open-studio and professional-development events for artists.
The Trust has funded other efforts to make the City an affordable place for artists, including Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s artist residency programs, which let artists rehearse and perform in vacant commercial space. In East Harlem, Artspace recently broke ground for its conversion of P.S. 109 into an affordable live/work community for artists. (To apply to Spaceworks, visit

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