On the 28th floor of 4 World Trade Center, multidisciplinary artist Tourmaline works from a corner studio that features two walls of windows and a view of the 9/11 Memorial. Next door, another artist, Tariku Shiferaw, has his own space to paint and create installations.
Both artists benefit from a non-profit program, Silver Art Projects, which provides artists with free year-round studio space in the chrome office tower, as well as a $1 stipend and mentorship. $200.
The nonprofit is part of a larger ecosystem of organizations and programs across New York that provide artists with places to work, a signature need for artists in a real estate market that has long had them. pushed to live in cavernous, vanished industrial spaces where the rent is cheap and there is room for art and furniture. Until gentrification sets in.
Other programs providing artists with studio space include the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council – which runs a nine-month studio residency program at 101 Greenwich Street for emerging artists and a new three-month residency program on Governors Island. .
BRIC is offering a 225 square foot studio rent-free for one year in Brooklyn’s Cultural District. Chashama, a nonprofit founded by Anita Durst 27 years ago, partners with landowners to turn unused spaces into art studios across the five boroughs.
“A lot of artists dream of coming to New York,” Durst said. “It just supports him. And then they are overpriced, so having those spaces allows them to stay.
Not every program can offer the stunning views from the studios provided by Silver Art, which was co-founded by Cory Silverstein, the grandson of 4 World Trade Center owner Larry Silverstein. Cory Silverstein came up with the idea in 2018 in tandem with college friend Joshua Pulman. Silverstein Properties provides 50,000 square feet of space to the nonprofit, which then provides 28 artists with studios ranging in size from 500 to 1,500 square feet.
“We had this idea of bringing in artists, changing the paradigm in terms of how artists were pushed out into the outer boroughs, for the most part, in this almost centrifugal way,” Cory Silverstein said, ” in which people go to New Jersey and Brooklyn and Queens and further and further.
The Silver Art program began with funding from major donors, like the Ford Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and is now looking to expand beyond that by bringing in an Executive Director to maintain and grow that financial support.
The new Executive Director, John Hatfield, has worked in the nonprofit art world for over 25 years. From 2002 to 2004, Hatfield served as assistant vice president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, focusing on the planning and selection process for the 9/11 Memorial. Immediately after the attacks, the city rushed to see what Lower Manhattan would look like, rebuilding transportation and the road network. The cultural piece took a little longer, but the Silver Art program is key to revitalizing the neighborhood, he said.
Hatfield also spent nearly 10 years as executive director of Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens. Before that, he worked at the New Museum for 17 years, including eight years as deputy director.
“Ultimately, this mission is about the artists,” Hatfield said in an interview. “And part of the job and the role is to elevate Silver Art, essentially bringing attention to these artists. It is the heart of everything.
Silver Art’s current residencies include 25 artists, as well as three mentors – Tourmaline, Hank Willis Thomas and Chella Man – who also have a studio.
The non-profit organization has given up-and-coming artists the opportunity to expand their art – and their canvases – beneath its 22-foot ceilings. After arriving at Silver Art, Tourmaline had her first solo exhibition, “Pleasure Garden”. She will exhibit at Art Basel in June.
Chase Hall, a current artist-in-residence who works in painting and sculpture, was included in Forbes’ 2021 “30 Under 30” art and style list. His work is held in the permanent collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Jared Owens, who also has a Silver Arts studio this year, is a multi-disciplinary artist who taught himself art during more than 18 years of incarceration. Her work has been exhibited in “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” at MoMA PS1.
(Going forward, Silver Art will reserve up to five spots per year in its residency program for formerly incarcerated artists.)
Pulman said the program has been successful in helping ensure gallery representation for most artists who entered without it.
“The ability to bring them into spaces and allow them to cooperate, there’s a huge demand and need,” Pulman said of the artists. “And bringing in an executive director for us means we can support the work we’re already doing with his efforts and his relationships with foundations and donors.”
It’s more than the view that makes the location of Tourmaline’s workshop important to her. There is history here, she said, and not just the history recorded at the 9/11 memorial. Nearby is the African Society for Mutual Relief, founded by black New Yorkers in the early 1800s, which helped widows and orphans, paid burial expenses for its members, and acted as a brokerage to buy real estate.
“It was a place where black people came together in the midst of a really huge ordeal and dreamed of what they wanted and then moved in that direction,” Tourmaline said of the area. “And so, it definitely feels emotionally charged, not just from the past 20 years, but certainly hundreds of years past.”