Many artists eventually outgrow the home studio or backyard shed. Moving into a studio space enables rooms in the home to be freed up, and can provide a huge boost to the artist’s business via the studio’s marketing initiatives. A dynamic studio space filled with other practicing artists also offers a support network and opportunities for collaboration, which you might never get if you’re working from home.
If you’re ready to choose a studio space, here are a few things to think about:
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1. Do you want a private or shared studio space?
The biggest decision an artist needs to make about studio space is whether you want a private space or a studio shared with other artists and creatives. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.
Many artists prefer the quiet and isolation of a solo studio. You can have clients visit and work on noisy projects without disturbing other renters. These types of studios will usually cost more.
A shared studio space is a more cost-effective option, and the place to be if you crave a high-energy environment and you want to increase your network.
Many shared studio spaces also offer exhibition space, training programs and opportunities to collaborate with other artists. A shared space means you will be literally sharing space (and resources, and control of the radio) with other artists—which some people find quite restrictive and distracting.
2. What’s on your “must-have” list?
When shopping for a studio it’s easy to get sidetracked by beautiful spaces, cool locations and other bells and whistles. To avoid this, create a list of your “must-have” essentials for your artist’s studio—perhaps you require a certain number of power points, a darkroom, a kiln, a forge, or a space that sees a steady flow of foot traffic in front of it every day.
Do you require lots of natural light? Do you need a space where you can get messy? Do you need no noise restrictions? Think about the simple everyday running of your studio before you look at all the other benefits of a particular space.
3. What area/space/price fits you?
Not all studios are created equal. Take the time to visit several different types of studios, meet the other artists and the landlords, and create a list of the benefits each can offer you.
When considering a studio space, many artists look for a great space to create in as well as a community of artists and supporters. A studio that offers exhibition space is a great benefit, as is any studio where other artists are focused on creating opportunities and promoting the work of the whole collective.
4. What are the terms?
Before you sign a contract to rent your artist’s studio, make sure you read it carefully and have a lawyer go over it if you are unsure about anything. Consider the following:
Are you allowed to sublet the space?
If you get a six-month residency or need to be away for any reason, having another artist take over your space temporarily will help save you money.
What type of lease is it?
Fixed-term leases are less desirable—if anything happens and you need to vacate the space, you’ll need to continue paying for the studio space until your lease is up.
What is included in the price? A cheap studio may not be so cheap if you’re paying for power, phone, internet, water and other costs.
Is the pricing structure fair?
If, for example, you’re considering a shared studio space, but you’re paying the same price as artists who have twice the floor-space or additional facilities, then consider if this studio is the right choice for you.
What additional costs will you incur?
For example, how much will it cost you to travel to and from the studio space? Do you need to purchase additional equipment? Factor these costs into your budget.
Choosing an artist’s studio is no small decision. It could take you a few weeks to visit the different local studios and figure out exactly what you want. But when it’s all done and you’re sitting in your newly furnished studio, putting the finishing touches on your first in-studio work. . . that’s when you’ll realize it was all worth it.