In New York they say "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere," but as rents continue to skyrocket, that dream is becoming a distant vision for many. In order to stay afloat, some struggling artists and entrepreneurs have been searching for alternative avenues to foster creativity, such as working from home or in shared co-working spaces. However, one collaborative is on a promising road to curing the plight of the creative class. ArtBuilt Mobile Studios, the brainchild of ArtBuilding and ArtHome, is designing and building small mobile workspaces that give artists, startups, and community groups affordable and green spaces to create off-the-grid. See how this resilient solution could change the landscape of our city as we know it.
Artbuilt co-founder, Esther Robinson
Artbuilt is a 200-square-foot, street-legal trailer, and is easy enough for users to tow around the city themselves. The energy-efficient tiny studios are well-insulated with integrated heating and cooling, and can run on solar, biodiesel or grid power. The mini buildings were also specially designed to withstand areas susceptible to natural disasters, such as super storms and flooding.
The thinking behind the small, moveable studio is to provide creatives with a place to call their own for very little money, especially when compared to New York’s unstoppable rent prices. Artists, small entrepreneurs and community initiatives can use the mobile spaces to relocate as needed. The mobile studio allows art installations and community support groups to reach underprivileged communities like never before.
One such initiative to utilize an ArtBuilt studio is the People’s Paper Co-Op (PPC), an artistic non-profit that teaches formerly incarcerated citizens to transform their criminal records into handmade, cathartic works of art. PPC’s current resident artists proudly represented their artistic works in the 200-square-foot mobile studio parked along the Bowery at this year’s annual IDEAS CITY Festival.
If you want to see the latest ArtBuilt exhibit in the flesh, you can attend Artist Matthew Jensen’s month-long residency at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, now on view through August 16th.
All images by Laura Mordas-Schenkein for Inhabitat, unless otherwise noted.