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Mayor Bloomberg Opens Affordable, Rentable Work Space For Artists In Long Island City

August 20, 2013

Starting Today Performing Artists Can Apply for a Spaceworks Card to Reserve Hourly Rentals at the Pilot Spaceworks Performing Arts Facility

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, New York City Council Member James Van Bramer, Spaceworks Executive Director Paul Parkhill and Board Chairman Pamela Wasserstein cut the ribbon today on Spaceworks LIC. Spaceworks LIC is the pilot site for Spaceworks, a nonprofit organization created in 2011 to develop long-term, affordable rehearsal and visual art studios citywide. The new rental facility at 33-02 Skillman Avenue in Long Island City features three rehearsal rooms and one music studio for performing artists. The project is the first of five sites currently in development that will create approximately 30,000 square feet of affordable workspace for New York City artists over the next two years. The $200,000-project was privately funded. The announcement was made at Spaceworks LIC. Prior to the announcement, Queens-based Dina Denis Dance and experimental music ensemble thingNY conducted open rehearsals for attendees.

“Arts and culture is thriving in every neighborhood in all five boroughs, and supporting the artists who make up New York City’s creative community is critical,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “By integrating affordable workspace for artists into neighborhoods across the city, Spaceworks is helping us find innovative ways to attract the talented workers who help shape our City’s economy, identity and quality of life.”

“Spaceworks is a dynamic model for addressing the needs of individual artists, and represents one of the many ways the City has worked to expand space for the development of cultural programming in all five boroughs,” said Commissioner Levin. “Today’s Long Island City ribbon-cutting marks an exciting first step in the life of this wonderful public-private partnership.”

“By providing long-term affordable work spaces, Spaceworks will become a vital resource for artists committed to staying and working in New York City, while building lasting connections between artists and communities,” said Spaceworks Executive Director Paul Parkhill. “As we evolve our model working with the creative community on each site, we look forward to the impact that this public-private partnership will have on the lives of artists throughout New York City, and on the City as a whole.”

“I am excited to welcome New York City’s latest innovative program to create affordable work spaces for artists in New York City including Western Queens,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the New York City Council’s Cultural Affairs Committee. “Artists have struggled financially to maintain quality spaces where they can produce their work. New York is a great city but can be expensive – and many artists struggle to find affordable spaces where they can rehearse, create and produce their work. Today with the assistance of Mayor Bloomberg, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Commissioner Levin, we begin creating spaces that are affordable, that through partnerships, bring eclectic works to the stage and to the gallery wall, because an artist could afford to create and simply dream.”

A feasibility study funded by the Charles H. Revson Foundation and conducted by Forsyth Street Advisors in 2011 led to the creation of Spaceworks as an independent nonprofit that would transform underutilized public and private facilities into workspaces for cultural use. While a growing number of cultural organizations offer popular free or low-cost, short-term artist residency programs for visual and performing artists, Spaceworks was established to provide development, maintenance, and leasing expertise for permanent cultural workspaces, offering artists the stability they need to remain in the city.

Spaceworks will also be highly collaborative, and plans to work with local cultural and community organizations to build connections between artists and the neighborhoods where they produce work. Program partners will allow Spaceworks to provide services and programs to local community members while creating opportunities for Spaceworks artists such as professional development, open studios and other collaborative projects. Current program partners include: The Chocolate Factory, Healing Arts Initiative, Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn Public Library, Cora Dance, the Trust for Governors Island, and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts. 

Spaceworks LIC is Spaceworks’ pilot site for performing artists. The 3,800 square foot project includes three large rehearsal spaces for dance and theater and one music practice studio. Spaceworks LIC shares the building with Healing Arts Initiative, which will provide facility maintenance support. The Chocolate Factory, a Long Island City-based theater and dance organization, will work as a program partner, facilitating community and artist outreach throughout Long Island City. Spaceworks is also piloting a site for visual artists in Gowanus, Brooklyn, which includes two 200-square-foot visual art studios. The Gowanus program partner, Brooklyn Arts Council, will help with artist outreach.

Spaceworks is currently in the pre-development phase for another 25,000 square feet of rehearsal and studio space at several sites across the city. These include:

  • The renovation of a portion of Brooklyn Public Library’s Red Hook branch for two 1,000-square-foot rehearsal spaces (projected completion 2014.)
  • The second floor of Brooklyn Public Library’s Carnegie-era Williamsburg branch into approximately 4,400 square feet of artist workspace including four visual art studios and two rehearsal spaces (projected completion 2014.)
  • The renovation of Building 301 on Governors Island, which will create approximately 20,000 square feet of artist workspace including 43 visual art studios and two rehearsal spaces (projected completion 2015).

All artists living in New York City are eligible to apply for studio space. Facilities are rented exclusively for the creation of artworks and Spaceworks artists must sustain an active artistic practice, as determined by work samples, resumes and artist applications. There is a one-time $10 application processing fee for first-time applicants.

Performing arts rehearsal spaces will be rented on an hourly basis, and entry to the facilities will require a Spaceworks Card that will be activated during reserved time-slots. Rehearsal space rentals at Spaceworks LIC range from $12 to $16 per hour. Starting today performing artists can visit to apply for a Spaceworks Card.

Visual art spaces will be rented on an annual basis. The Gowanus visual art studios pilot site will be available for $350 per month and artists will be selected through a lottery system. Starting in early September, artists can enter the pilot Gowanus Visual Arts Studio Lottery at

Funding for the development of Spaceworks facilities has been provided through a public-private partnership including the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the City of New York through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York City Council, the David Rockefeller Fund, the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the National Endowment for the Arts’ ArtPlace America initiative, and The New York Community Trust. For more information about Spaceworks, visit

Media Contact

Marc La Vorgna / Julie Wood
(212) 788-2958

Media Contact

Danai Pointer / Ryan Max
Cultural Affairs
(212) 513-9322

Media Contact

Paul Parkhill / Josh Rowe (Spaceworks)
(718) 408-8755