Although the New York City art scene recently suffered a loss with the impending demolition of 5pointz Aerosol Art Centre, there is also some good news to report. As of yesterday, city artists can still flock to Long Island City with the opening of Spaceworks, an affordable and rentable work space for visual and performing artists. At over 3,800 square feet, Spaceworks LIC is the pilot site for Spaceworks,  a non-profit organization created in 2011 for the purpose of offering long-term and affordable rehearsal and visual art studios throughout the city.

Privately funded, this new rental facility, located at 33-02 Skillman Avenue, is offering three rehearsal rooms for dance and theatre and one music studio for performing artists.

Spaceworks LIC is the first of five sites, currently in development for the Spaceworks program. In total, the program will create approximately 30,000 square feet of affordable space for New York City artists over the next two years. Other locations being considered for the scheme include Gowanus, Williamsburg and Governors Island.

Eun Young Choi, the program director at the New York Art Residency & Studio Foundation (NARS), praises the program in AM New York. She believes it to be a way to “let artists focus more on their work and less on scrounging for money to cover ever-increasing studio rent”. As a counter-example, Choi cites that NARS is being forced to relocate because the landlord at the previous site pushed rent prices up by 47%. As a result, over fifty artists were forced to vacate. Now with the more affordable workspaces provided by Spaceworks LIC, artists will be able to dedicate more time to their actual work.

Any artist living in New York City is eligible to apply for studio space. Interested artists can submit online applications along with work samples and resumes.

Mayor Bloomberg, who cut the ribbon at the opening yesterday, has spoken passionately about the project, stating that all five boroughs of the city have been undergoing a resurgence of arts and culture. “Supporting the artists who make up New York City’s creative community is critical”. Through offering an affordable workspace for artists, the hope is to fully integrate them into the city’s neighborhoods. Such lasting connections between artists and communities could offer innovative ways to attract other talented workers to contribute to the economy and identity of New York.

For more information about Spaceworks, visit their website.