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In a borough where affordable workspaces for artists are few and far between, Chashama’s Space to Connect program is a welcome addition to the Bronx.
Chashama has been transforming dormant spaces throughout the city for nearly 25 years. Their goal of “supporting artists by giving them space to create and present their work, while fostering community through the arts,” is evident in this new project.
“Through the Space to Connect program, Chashama collaborates with organizations that have limited capacity to offer arts to their members. Together with local artists, we design and create artistic programming at no cost to the partnering agency or their members,” explains Program Director Cayla Casciani.
Chashama currently has two Space to Connect programs, one in Washington Heights and one in the North Bronx. They are launching their third program in the Bronx with Dunn Development. The formula is simple: Dunn offers unused commercial space in one of their properties to artists, who in turn teach two workshops per month to residents of Dunn’s supportive housing community. These programs are run by social service agencies CAMBA and SUS.
Classes offered through Space to Connect are folded into existing programming, and artists work with Chashama and one of these agencies to co-create and deliver arts programming to Dunn’s residents. Advertising and recruiting for classes is the responsibility of the coordinators, not the artists.
“Through working with long term local artists, we envision and create arts programming that is catered to the needs and interests of each location, whether its for an afterschool program or for the residents of a building. We’ve held a wide variety of art classes over the past few years including portraiture, painting murals, creating quilts, and look forward to the future classes we will create with Bronx artists,” says Program Coordinator Xiomara Malpica.
Chashama already runs one other Space to Connect program in the North Bronx in partnership with Fordham Bedford, where there are four artists in residence. This new collaboration will see artists working with Dunn housing communities in the Highbridge section of the Bronx and in East Harlem.
Visual artists working in all disciplines are encouraged to submit a simple application, where they will present work samples, and their idea for a dynamic and engaging art class.
The four visual artist workspaces will be guaranteed for one year and the RFP states, “Bronx based artists who are committed to practicing their art while also engaging, teaching, and inspiring the local community are encouraged to apply. Bi-lingual and long-term Bronx based artists receive priority in the program.”
“I’ve already applied,” states artist Diane Davis, a resident of the Bronx for over 30 years. Ms. Davis used to rent a large studio at a former Chashama run space in West Harlem. “Chashama was a great support for me, it’s where I found my voice as an artist. The support system and community was amazing.” She goes on to say, “The Bronx is so isolated, and the opportunity to share space with other artists—just talking, encouraging and supporting each other—is invaluable.”
Chashama is accepting applications for the Dunn Space to Connect program through January 15, 2019. If you’re a visual artist in the Bronx, don’t miss this opportunity. Apply today!
— Laura James
LINK TO RFP on SUBMITTABLE
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