Artists: stop starving with the Brokelyn artist’s starter kit

Do you wanna dance? The Brooklyn Arts Council can help with that. via Facebook
Do you wanna dance? The Brooklyn Arts Council can help with that. via Facebook

If you’re doing anything remotely artistic in Brooklyn, then you know that it’s not easy to find a foothold here doing what you love. What with the endless craigslist sublets, the painstaking grant applications for your next piece, and the utter lack of insider tips on where to find your fellow artmakers, Brokelyn thought it was time to cut you a little slack.

We’ve compiled a no-frills starter kit to getting your Etsy-crocheted ducks in order. With the help of the resources below, performers, designers and artisans alike can legitimize themselves outside the studio space. You can get paid for what you do. You can shack up with like-minded folk, and start calling Brooklyn home for real.

Listings Project, by Stephanie Diamond
Started by an apartment-seeking artist in 2003, the Listings Project is a weekly e-mail newsletter that features free listings for everything from office space to studio shares to rooms for rent. This isn’t like your PadMapper real estate roundup; artists who know about Stephanie’s shtick simply e-mail her when they’ve got a space to offer up, and she puts it into the newsletter, which gets sent out every Wednesday morning. The best part? It’s artists helping artists, so you know that the person you end up with is probably going to have things like crocheted couch cushions or the occasional impromptu backyard jam session. You might even get to live with clowns.

Fractured Atlas
For some reason, not enough people know about this incredible not-for-profit arts advocacy organization. Fractured Atlas is the number one umbrella for emerging companies and individual artists seeking or already of non-profit status. They offer fiscal sponsorship, different forms of insurance for the artist as well as access their list of resources ranging from pro-bono legal help to discounted marketing and coaching services. ‘Community’ membership is free, so if you’re just looking to poke your nose in and see what’s good before actually signing up, nobody’s going to shoo you away. Three cheers for e-loitering!
A self-proclaimed “bridge between North Brooklyn’s vibrant long-term communities and the area’s emerging creative population”, Arts@Renaissance is a hospital-turned-community space that offers three and four-month residencies to artists (including one for work that is developed as site-specific to the hospital!). In addition to providing space on space on space for working artists, Arts@Renaissance has also seen low-cost dance classes pass through its walls, not to mention its longstanding Skillshare-esque workshop series geared towards senior artists! Even Bubbie gets to be in on the fun.

Brooklyn Arts Council
The BAC will hold your paint-splattered hand through the trials and tribulations of being an artist in Brooklyn. As a service organization dedicated to promoting and sustaining the arts, the council is pretty much the voice of the borough’s arts scene. It provides grants and fiscal sponsorship, hosts low and no cost classes and event series, and even offers an artist registry aka non-creepy way of meeting new collaborators online. BAC also loves old people: they are currently offering, in strange contrast to Arts@Renaissance, an artist residency in exchange for creating arts programming for seniors.

Fresh Ground Pepper
Fresh Ground Pepper is a monthly event series for the development of emerging art. A younger, sexier and broke-r BAC, this Brooklyn-based forum offers artists of every medium three things: a guideline, a deadline, and a space. The community grows by default out of that structure, and the group’s events are usually packed. Past happenings have included “Screenic Scramble” (video art + installation art = fun), and a collaboratively staged remix of Guys and Dolls where drag queens gave a whole new meaning to the song, “Bushel and a Peck.” FGP also has actual year-long development programs, and accept submissions year-round regardless of what they’ve got going on. Last but not least, cheap beer: Sixpoint sponsors all of their events.


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