Monday, January 10, 2011


CLICK THE HEADING, ABOVE, and link to a typical artists space and residence page. Cities often have several arts organizations offering similar services. In the suburbs, good luck finding anything as space is at a premium, and loft or old apartment buildings are priced to the max. Similar ads appear in Craig's List. Search terms: Art space, artist's space Chicago area, artists studio space. And heres an example of same, but for writers needing a quiet place to work:

If you are creating at home, and sharing that home with partners running their own businesses, children and often, aged parents, consider an outside space. It might enhance creative flow and quality of work. My creativity and production have slowed to a crawl after my partner set up his home office and an adult child moved home. I swear, its like running the front desk in a busy airline terminal and trying to paint in between customers, announcements, interruptions and non - stop cacophony from various media sources, meetings, friends and the dog's frantic, angry yapping. Also, for most of us economics and distance are determining factors when finding a space. Id love a romantic gazebo studio or artsy urban garret but in my area even a shabby, downsized version starts at $1500.00 per month not counting utilities and licensing. For now, a quiet place where nobody can find and pester me is the target.

First, investigate what’s out there. Artist spaces are listed on artist guild billboards, publications, online art communities and Craig's List. Be flexible. Example : a small room in a a law firm or real estate office might serve your purpose – many are renting their empty rooms to generate extra cash. Next blog entry will focus on pros and cons. An other option is households with a large spare bedroom, walk in attic, or other spaces. Many empty nesters and singles or working couples are happy to renting out unused space for daytime use. I'd steer clear of any residence with children for obvious reasons.

Factors to consider when sourcing out locations for your space, aside from monthly cost and rental details are below. Italics are responses particular to my own requirements.

1. Estimated travel time to and from, and traffic patterns. I loath driving in heavy Chicago toll - way and north side city traffic even with great music or an audio book. Drive time, one way after the rush hour requires 1 hour 45 minutes, usually 2 full hours. (2:00 a.m. it's 60 minutes)

2. Fuel or transportation costs. Fuel costs are estimated to double by the end of 2011- am I prepared to move out of the studio and find a closer space if this occurs, within a year?

3. Do you want to work around other artists or prefer a quiet place? If another artist in the shared space is overly talkative, plays her music loud or has many loud visitors will this be a problem? For me, solitude is preferable.

4. How much space does your medium require? 250+ square feet is fine.

5. Do you require natural daylight, ventilation? I prefer indirect natural daylight.

6. Days and hours – when will you be using the space? Sometimes you can split the rent with another artist. I’m planning on 3 full 8 hour days in studio per week. Other days will be used for my jewelry business and art related business like web maintenance, invoicing, preparing and shipping orders, phone calls etc.

7. Do you need somebody available to sign for and receive shipments when you are out? No

8. Heat and air conditioning. Heat is a must; a fan might be fine in the summer. In the Midwest temps range from frigid to sweltering.

9. Do you need a location near galleries? Often, nearby artist buildings are included in gallery walks and tours. Nice perk but not essential; I need work space. Socializing with artists or gallery owners and clients, marketing, and community are not on my radar. In 2 years this may change as Ill have built up a new body of work and seeking exhibition spaces.

10. Stairs, elevator, a loading dock, and locks on the doors or a cubical in a large shared loft space – these are some of the details to bear in mind. I may be loading and unloading my studio furniture by myself. This include drawing table, a collapsible work table, chair, lighting, some shelves, possibly the large easel. So I prefer walk in, a lift, or elevator access.

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