Space, Part Two

-Dale Park

Another aspect of space with regard to arts nonprofits has to do with performance venues. Events require space, and space in New York City has a cost. Even prior to COVID-19, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) spaces such as Silent Barn and Shea Stadium closed owing to financial difficulties. Now, as some spaces begin to reopen, NYFMF is looking at different options to help artists find space.

Properties such as National Sawdust, Pioneer Works, and Baryshnikov Arts Center are examples of arts spaces that operate in a nonprofit capacity. 

In the past, NYFMF has collaborated with Guitar Center to host an educational workshop and live show at the company’s Union Square location—its second-largest in the country. 

The event uncovered two ideas: 1.) that large amounts of commercial real estate are becoming available—due not just to COVID-19, but online shopping in general, and 2.) that artists are in a unique position to enhance these spaces for themselves to enjoy and the public to appreciate.

In regard to virtual platforms such as YouTube, NYFMF has been working with independent filmmakers and directors to produce a podcast series for its channel as well as various artist highlight reels, or “vignettes.” 

The pandemic has people of all ages—not just the younger generations—spending so much time online that many crave in-person gatherings.  With that in mind, NYFMF has been developing relationships with venue promoters, space-as-a-service providers, and community theaters in order to showcase and film artists across disciplines.

Some of the same discrepancies between large real estate developments and independent artists exist in other spaces such as the digital: a handful of well-known and successful artists receive the lion’s share of the total royalty payments from streaming services. Artists compete for attention—from playlist curators to “the algorithm” to audiences at large.

As the world reopens, and physical engagement becomes more of a reality, NYFMF hopes to channel the energy of online stimulation to make live space more accessible and affordable to independent artists once again.