The Artist Workspace: What It Is, How It Works, and Why Artists Benefit

By:
Ms. Kerry McCarthy
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In 2000, a group of artist centered organizations began meeting, exchanging information, and collaborating on projects. In the process, they self defined the field of artist workspaces. Artist workspaces share three key characteristics:

1. They are nonprofit studio spaces centered on the artist and the artist’s creative process.

2. They provide the artist with freedom for artistic experimentation and exploration.

3. They actively engage with the artist by providing space, time, technical assistance, equipment, stipends, and resources to artists in year-round residency programs. Active engagement manifests itself in multiple ways: a master printer works with workspace residents to familiarize them with new printing process, a technician becomes a collaborator in the hand papermaking process or guides and instructs artists in the use of new sculpture making equipment. It is this active engagement that distinguishes the workspace from other artist residency programs.

With the 2004 release of the self-titled publication "New York State Artist Workspace Consortium" followed by the release in 2005 of two companion guides for artists and arts organizations entitled "The Artist Workspace Residency," the artist workspace model is gaining recognition. This article will use the New York State Artist Workspace Consortium as a case study to further define a field and articulate the benefits of collaboration.


Keywords: Artist Workspace, Collaboration
Stream: Analysing Artforms
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
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Ms. Kerry McCarthy

Project Director, New York State Artist Workspace Consortium
Rosendale, New York, USA

Kerry McCarthy is Project Director for the New York State Artist Workspace Consortium, a collaboration of ten artist-driven visual arts organizations that seeks to improve organizational capability, promote the artist workspace field, and share expertise and resources. Its members include Carriage House Workspace at the Islip Art Museum, Center for Photography at Woodstock, CEPA Gallery, Dieu Donné Papermill, Harvestworks, Lower East Side Printshop, New York State Council on the Arts, Sculpture Space, Smack Mellon, Socrates Sculpture Park, and Women's Studio Workshop. She is also Principal of McCarthy Arts Consulting, a firm that provides planning, research, advocacy,and communication services for arts and cultural organizations. Clients include among others: Center for Puppetry Arts, Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, Dance/NYC, Meredith Monk/The House Foundation for the Arts, Queens Council on the Arts and Queens Museum of Art.

Ref: A06P0385