“We know that New York City is a place with a legend, of struggling, hardworking people who grew up here, came here from around the country, came here from around the world with a simple dream to create something,” de Blasio said. “A lot of them struggled. A lot of them struggle today. Through their struggles, through their vision, they create extraordinary things that came to define this place. We received so much from them. It helped make us a great global capital, but a lot of times they kept struggling. So, for all those generations of artistic visionaries we want to do something different now. We’ll provide 1,500 units of affordable live-work housing for artists and musicians who make New York City such a great and vibrant place.”
The plan is part of a broader municipal strategy to make affordable housing a major priority in 2015, particularly for artists, veterans, and seniors. The live-work units for artists will be developed through the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, with the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) contributing $3 million annually, and another $3 million coming from private donors. Every year through 2024, the city will build 150 new units for artists. The decade-long initiative will also see the creation of “500 dedicated affordable work spaces for the cultural community,” de Blasio said, converted from city-owned properties that are underused. An initial request for proposals for the new affordable artists’ housing is expected to be released by the end of 2015, with the DCA partnering with outside organizations — chiefly nonprofits — to determine the ideal criteria for projects.
“We just can’t allow artists to be priced out of New York City,” DCA Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl told WNYC. “They’re important for the soul of the city, they’re important for neighborhoods, they’re really important for the economy.”
The lack of affordable housing for artists in New York City is hardly a new problem, but there have been precious few municipal projects to build new apartments for artists. Save for the recent conversion of the abandoned PS109 building in El Barrio into 89 affordable units for artists and their families — for which a whopping 53,000 artists applied — the city’s best-known artist housing project remains the Westbeth Artists Community in the West Village, which welcomed its first artist tenants 45 years ago.
While it’s tempting to chalk this new affordable housing initiative up to some kind of artistic flourishing akin to the avant-garde that used downtown Manhattan as its aesthetic playground in the 1970s and ’80s, de Blasio’s ensuing comments offer an economic motivation for the project.
“On a practical note, these artists, musicians, the whole cultural community, they also help make our city a mecca for tourists,” the mayor added. “It’s one of the reasons why in 2014, a record 56.4 million tourists visited this city, which is an astounding figure. So we’re gonna make sure we support people who have done so much for us.”
It’s hard to imagine that de Blasio’s new housing initiative will seriously impact the housing shortage for artists in New York, tens of thousands of whom are still struggling to find affordable space in the city.
Cammie Tipton-Amini’s opinion piece “When Ukraine Was Newly Independent and Everything Was Possible” employs simplistic whataboutism that dangerously echoes Putin’s lies.
Anthony Banua-Simon’s documentary Cane Fire contrasts decades of Hollywood images of his home with its current reality.
Now on view in Pasadena, this exhibition explores how four artists challenged the limitations of gestural abstraction by exploiting the resonance of figural forms.
Michelle Segre’s art is truer to the actual world we live in than to the ideal one proposed and refined by the art world and its institutions.
The school’s 2022 cohort was encouraged to fail, get messy, and try new things.
Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art Presents A Site of Struggle: American Art against Anti-Black Violence
This new exhibition in Evanston, Illinois considers how art has been used to protest, process, mourn, and memorialize anti-Black violence for more than a century.
Protesters held signs that read “If men got pregnant, you could get an abortion at an ATM” and “Abolish SCOTUS, Not Abortions!”
Define American has named the fourth cohort of its annual fellowship, which gives grants and career development opportunities to five artists.
Guest curated by Alison Burstein, An Asterism* at the school’s Kellen Gallery in NYC features the work of 15 multidisciplinary artists, on view from May 16 through May 27.
The site of Michelangelo’s famous frescoes has a strict no-photos policy.
Her short film Freshwater is now playing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
In the artist’s new exhibition, Black moves away from her signature representation of commercial goods to celebrating the labors behind everyday life.