Needing a cheap, creative space.
August 11, 2006 4:45 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone help me in finding a dirt cheap and creative way to find studio space for an artist?

I live in an apartment in a small suburb of Charlotte, NC. It's not exactly an artsy town and as far as I can tell, there is no art community. I need a place that is close by that I can do things such as painting, drawing, sewing and messing around with other personal products I couldn't do in an apartment like woodworking or furniture refinishing.

How do I begin looking? What should I keep in mind? What is the most cost-effective way to do this?

I don't know anyone in the area so I can't bum some garage space from someone, either.

Please help! Thanks!
posted by bristolcat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What kind of place are you looking for? Does it need to be clean/smell free and have running water. Do you need to be able to control the light? How cheap is dirt cheap?

Talk to local galleries to see if they offer studio space or know about any local artist co-ops. The spaces in my area run about $200 a month and get cheaper if you sell more. It is possible that you might have to resign yourself to driving into the city if these opportunities aren't available where you live.

If there are no local galleries craigslist couldn't hurt.
posted by Alison at 6:01 AM on August 11, 2006

Response by poster: Well, it doesn't need to really be clean, I could clean it myself. As long as it has good ventilation and plugins, it's ok. It wouldn't even need to have running water. I could bring lights in, too. One major need though is that it's lockable.

As far as dirt cheap goes, I'd like to pay 100 (or under! ha!). Maybe there are small retail spaces that I could divide up and share with other artists?
posted by bristolcat at 6:06 AM on August 11, 2006

I'd second putting an add up on Craigslist to see if you could round up some other like minded people to pool some money together to rent a good space. Otherwise check to see if there are any groups that already have this arrangement. Check art stores, craft stores, woodworking stores, etc. Put up a notice at each of the stores to try and drum up interest.
posted by JJ86 at 6:07 AM on August 11, 2006

Someone you don't know might have a garage or other outbuilding they don't use.

First choose the location you want, then put up posters saying you'd gladly give someone a little cash for exclusive permission to work in their garage during certain hours. Tell them what roads you're interested in, so people who don't live in the right areas won't waste their time calling you.

When you negotiate, warn them if you think you might make a hard-to-clean mess with paint or other substances, if you might be smoking while you work, or if you and your buddies might start hanging out late at night working on projects and shooting the shit. You want them to be clear about what to expect. If they don't know artists, they might assume you'll set up an easel and quietly paint naked ladies until 5:00, then punch out and go home. And make sure they don't expect you to get work done while Junior works on his car in the same space. It has to be exclusive access, at least during certain agreed hours.
posted by pracowity at 6:07 AM on August 11, 2006

Build a treehouse/studio in an inconspicuous spot?
posted by rmless at 7:05 AM on August 11, 2006

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