For struggling artists in the neighborhood, the Williamsburg Public Library will soon offer a creative respite.
Spaceworks, a non-profit real estate organization that works to provide affordable studio spaces and rehearsal spaces for artists, is collaborating with the Brooklyn Public Library to create such a space at the Williamsburg branch of the library that is located on Division Avenue close to the Williamsburg Bridge.
Located on the second floor of the Carnegie-era library, the new venture will provide artists with four new visual arts studios and two rehearsal spaces.
“We’ve been working on the partnership for a couple years,” said Paul Parkhill, the executive director at Spaceworks. “BPL was looking for ways to expand its programming and reach new audiences, and Spaceworks was created to build affordable work space for artists, often in publicly-owned buildings. So the marriage was perfect.”
Rehearsal spaces will be rented out on an hourly basis, and artists can apply through an online application found on the group’s website once the space is ready. Visual artists are selected through an online lottery process, and required to sign one-year contracts once they have earned a spot.
Rehearsal spaces will costs artists between $12-$16 an hour and the visual arts studios will be rented out for $300-$350 each month.
The library is hoping the project will engender strong ties between artists in the neighborhood and library patrons.
“This is a great way for the BPL to provide for the creative community in Williamsburg,” said Josh Nachowitz, who is in charge of the project on the Library’s end. “It will allow us to have free cultural programs for patrons of the library, and bring artists and patrons closer.”
Spaceworks’ current main facility is located Long Island City with four studios for music, dance, and theater. It also has two visual arts studios located at President Street in Gowanus, which is currently being rented out by artists.
In addition to the Williamsburg project, Spaceworks is also looking to develop a large space on Governor’s Island. Formerly home to P.S. 26, the 20,000 square foot space that is called Governor’s Island Building 301, will be able to accommodate 43 visual arts studios, 2 rehearsal spaces, and a community gallery space, once it is complete.
The Williamsburg project does not have an exact opening date yet, but it is expected to open in the fall.
“We think the project will really help expand the definition of how libraries are used in the 21st century,” said Parkhill.
For more information on the project and updates check out http://spaceworksnyc.org/home.