Dumbo has come a long way from its 1970s days, when its industrial lofts attracted artists looking for more space and cheaper rents. Now the neighborhood is a hub for tech and design firms, and its luxe apartments with their views of the New York skyline command rents that make much of Manhattan look inexpensive by comparison.
Rising rents have a tendency to send artists scurrying, and Two Trees Management, the real estate firm that helped make the neighborhood what it is today, knows that better than anyone. Two Trees was there at the beginning, and with their Cultural Space Subsidy Program, they are determined to make sure art still has a home in Dumbo.
According to an article in the Observer, Two Trees has selected nine artists to receive subsidy grants for below-market workspaces in Dumbo, as well as the pioneering New York nonprofit arts organization Art in General.
Those who follow the modern art world may recognize some of the names. Chitra Ganesh and Jeanine Oleson have had their work displayed at the Brooklyn Museum and The New Museum. Peter Drake was a professor at Parsons before becoming the dean of academic affairs at the New York Academy of Art. Thomas Stevenson is the guy behind the ongoing Bivouac NYC project, where he sets up campgrounds on city rooftops. The work of the nine artists encompasses conceptual art, performance, sculpture, and painting, the latter in such diverse idioms as abstract, hyperrealist, and pop. Also receiving grants are Blane De St. Croix, Marc Dennis, Gabriele Evertz, Jerry Kearns, and Shelter Serra.
Art in General, meanwhile, has been supporting up-and-coming artists for over 30 years from their former home in lower Manhattan. Some of these artists have been featured in exhibitions at the Whitney Biennial, MoMA, the New Museum, and the Tate Modern. Their new Dumbo gallery will be at 145 Plymouth Street, near such arts spaces as A.I.R. Gallery and Smack Mellon.
Two Trees is offering these spaces to the artists at $12 per square foot, far less than market rate, with leases of three years. The leases begin in January. Applications for 2017 leases will be accepted between May 1 and June 30, 2016.