Empty lots in East New York will be repurposed later this year to provide affordable spaces for burgeoning artists and entrepreneurs, and those interested in participating still have time to apply.“[Re]New Lots Markets & Artist Incubator Project,” an initiative of Arts East New York, is developing two vacant lots at New Lots and Van Sinderen Avenues to provide seven affordable spaces for retail and seven more for visual arts studios by December 2014. The spaces will be developed by converting 10′ x 8’shipping containers into weather-insulated storefronts and studios. Amenities will include 24/7 security, communal areas, and events to draw crowds. The initiative is designed to help participating entrepreneurs grow commercially, gain visibility and develop as small business owners, while also assisting participating artists in creating a professional environment where they can share their work with peers, arts enthusiasts, and curators.
“I had heard about a similar program headed up by Bill Wilkins of the Local Development Corporation,” said James Malone, a local resident who attended an information session on Wednesday. “We need spaces for artists to exhibit their work, so this is exciting.”
And another goal, according to Program Manager Athenia Rodney, is to give the neighborhood its proper attention.
“We want to attract people from different areas,” Rodney said. “We want to combine people from the community with those who may be outside the community, but currently feel East New York is too far ‘off the map.'”
Artists studios will rent at $300 per month (but work cannot be sold on site), while entrepreneurs will pay $420 per month. Hours of business operation will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. Artists will have 24/7 access to the site, while entrepreneurs will have access during operating hours, plus an additional hour before and after.
Ms. Rodney explained that the initiative is meant to drive professional development for artists and small businesses who might want to “test out the market” before investing fully in a brick and mortar location of their own.
An application deadline of October 10th was recently pushed back to November 1st. For those interested, several remaining information sessions can be attended (free of charge) at the Arts East New York storefront at 851 Hegeman Avenue, or an application can be obtained by visiting www.renewlots.org.
The program is sponsored by Arts East New York, supported by Council Members Inez Barron and Laurie Cumbo, and funded through a range of government agencies and civic institutions, including the NewYork City Department of Culture, Department of Business Services, Economic Development Corporation, LDCENY, the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Pratt Center for Community Development, and the non-profit arts group A Blade of Grass.