It is no secret that the art world, just like the rest of the world, continues a steady march toward privatization and for profit status. Pay to play/Vanity galleries are a prime example of how young and emerging artists can fall victim to for profit scams that prey on the need for exposure in the field. Every artist seems to have a story of being ripped off in one way or another for doing nothing more than pursuing a career in art. We have launched a website devoted solely to artists’ caveats about which galleries and curators might be offering a less than fair deal because this problem is so prevalent. It’s enough to truly discourage anyone trying to make it in the art world. Rest assured though, there are still galleries out there truly devoted to furthering the advancement of emerging artists. Nonprofit spaces do exist, and there are wonderful residencies, internships and exhibition opportunities to be had. Here is a roundup of some of the finest nonprofit art spaces in New York that you should know.
Eyebeam The mission statement of this space reads, “Eyebeam is a nonprofit studio for collaborative experiments with technology toward a more imaginative and just world.” This combination of art and technology in order to achieve an advancement in society is the epitome of what art is capable of. As art continues to follow the trend of the rest of the world into the realm of privatized and for profit business, it is more important than ever to hold tight to the basic precepts of art as a force for change. Eyebeam offers a unique residency opportunity given its tech heavy model. Residencies are broken into categories: research, impact, student, and project. Visit the website for details and application information.
Artists Space This gallery has been going strong since 1972. Among its many luminous alumni are Jeff Koons, Laurie Anderson, and Barbara Bloom. Artists Space has had a major impact on the arts scene in New York City as well as influencing the music world. Over the years they have evolved to meet the ever changing needs of the artists they work with, but their core mission remains the same—to help further the careers of young and emerging artists. Internships are available in the areas of curating, exhibition production, or arts administration. There are three internship periods in fall, spring, and summer and deadlines for application can be found on the Artists Space website.
White Columns The oldest alternative nonprofit space in New York City, this venerable institution was originally known by the name 112 Workshop or 112 Greene Street. Similar to others of its kind, White Columns is meant to be a space where emerging artists can have the freedom to experiment. The list of well-known artists who have had their start at White Columns is miles long. White Columns does not accept direct submissions from individual artists, rather they ask that artists submit work to their online registry. Proposals for group exhibitions can be submitted via email and are to be no more than 250 words.
The Drawing Center In 1977 the former assistant curator of drawings at MOMA founded this nonprofit to “express the quality and diversity of drawing—unique works on paper—as a major art form.” Since then The Drawing Center has exhibited the work of emerging artists. Often the dynamic exhibits connect drawing to other disciplines such as food, science, and politics. There are numerous education opportunities from public school workshops to internships for art students.
Flux Factory In 1993 seven artists rented living space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Flux Factory was informally born. As the organization grew, the mission remained the same. To support emerging artists in New York through promotion and support in order to build sustainable artist networks and allow the New York art scene to continue to thrive. Eventually the collective was forced to move and these days makes its home in Queens. Flux Factory offers artist residencies ranging in duration from three to twelve months. They maintain an informal approach and accept all sorts of interested parties to their residency from artists to urban agriculturalists, game designers to community organizers. Open Call for residency occurs twice a year.
Creative Time Over the last four decades, this artist space has operated on three core values: “art matters, artists voices are important in shaping society, and public spaces are for creative and free expression.” The organization pushes the boundaries in every way, even expanding its reach to outer space through Trevor Paglan’s incredible “The Last Pictures” project. Creative Time will continue to present art that “stops people in their tracks” and to nurture emerging artists through use of a safe space in which to experiment. For details about their many internship, fellow, and even employment opportunities, visit the Creative Time website.