Finding Creative Space for Barter - Easier than Unicorn Hunting
When I was young and becoming serious about dance, the studio owner where I trained made a special arrangement. In exchange for tuition to attend 4 classes a week, I taught kids classes and my mother sewed dance costumes (thanks, Mom). I didn’t know the word “barter” back then, but because of this special arrangement, I was able to access a depth of dance training my family otherwise could not afford. Fast forward to today, out of necessity artists are still looking for creative ways to access resources. Space to create and share work is often at the top of the resources list. Rental space can be competitive and expensive to secure, especially in large metropolitan areas. However, alternatives for space rental payment are not the elusive unicorns you might assume them to be. Thankfully there are still people out there open to special barter arrangements. In response to the need for better tools to discover these opportunities, Fractured Atlas has updated our Spaces directories to include new search filters for ‘Barter’ and ‘Work-study’. Within seconds you can filter spaces to see only those open to barter (see example via SpacemART.org here). These new ways of connecting to space resources are in addition to pre-existing search options by rental rates, location, size, equipment and more.
Updated Spaces search options related to payment:
- Barter - NEW!
- Work Study - NEW!
- Hourly Rates
- Daily Rates
- Monthly Rates
- FREE Space Available (yes it does exist, example in LA, example in NYC)
In addition to the search filters highlighted above, key words searches such as: “payment plan”, “discount”, “long term”, “special offer”, “artist-friendly rates” or “student rates” connect you to spaces with those special offers. See what you discover.
Examples of venues open to barter for rental space:
Barter Tip for Artists:
It never hurts to ask an organization about barter or work-study, even if they do not advertise an official barter program. I’ve see artists successfully barter classes or administrative work for rehearsal space (even permanent ongoing rehearsal space!). Your best entry point when approaching an organization is understanding hard costs are associated with managing space, even when the space is empty. Take time to research the organization, be thoughtful about what value you can offer them. What do they need? Start out by asking for an agreeable value exchange, rather than a donation. For helpful guidelines on bartering communications a great resource is OurGoods.org, a barter network for the creative community.
What approaches related to rental space and barter are you seeing emerge?
Please share your knowledge with the network of folks who follow this blog by commenting below, thanks. - Lisa Niedermeyer