A map of current Spaceworks Projects:  A – 20 Bruckner Boulevard, Bronx; B – 33-02 Skillman Avenue, Queens ; C – Williamsburg Public Library, Brooklyn; D – Red Hook Public Library, Brooklyn ; E – 540 President Street, Brooklyn ; F – Building 301, Governor’s Island

A map of current Spaceworks Projects: A – 20 Bruckner Boulevard, Bronx; B – 33-02 Skillman Avenue, Queens ; C – Williamsburg Public Library, Brooklyn; D – Red Hook Public Library, Brooklyn ; E – 540 President Street, Brooklyn ; F – Building 301, Governor’s Island

In New York City, an entity called Spaceworks is working to develop long-term affordable rehearsal and studio space. This month, Paul Parkhill, Executive Director of Spaceworks, took the time to answer some questions for ArtPlace about the program’s sustainability and long term planning.

Looking backward, what were some actions you took at the launch of Spaceworks to ensure its long-term viability? Looking forward, how will Spaceworks continue to grow after your Artplace grant?

Spaceworks represents an effort to create long-term work space for artists, so our model is predicated on our ability to support ourselves over the long haul. The model is built on the premise that we will develop enough space over our first 5 to 7 years to become economically self-sufficient. Although we also plan to engage in various fundraising activities, the organization is designed to cover its core operations through a combination of earned rental income and developer fees.

The most critical part of this approach has been to think big. Although several of our initial projects are relatively small, allowing us to pilot the model, we plan to move rapidly toward larger-scale projects that can help us meet our goals. As we grow, we also hope to leverage our real estate holdings to access developer fees, build in project reserves, and offset operating costs.

One of our most important efforts during our start-up phase has been meeting with the cultural community to explain the model, create partnerships and build good will. This is clearly an effort that must continue throughout the life of the organization, but focusing on this early is particularly vital to long-term viability, as our model relies on working closely with community-based arts organizations that can provide program support to the artists we serve.

A map of current Spaceworks Projects:  A – 20 Bruckner Boulevard, Bronx; B – 33-02 Skillman Avenue, Queens ; C – Williamsburg Public Library, Brooklyn; D – Red Hook Public Library, Brooklyn ; E – 540 President Street, Brooklyn ; F – Building 301, Governor’s Island

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