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Step one is finished. The artists working to build new studio space in the District succeeded in raising the funds to get their venture up and running. Now comes the fun part: filling the building with artists.
Tim Doud, Caitlin Teal Price, and Linn Meyers—artists and founders of STABLE, a building in Eckington rehabbed for art studios—opened up applications this week. About 40 artist studios will be available altogether, at a range of sizes and affordable prices. Some of them will be reserved for institutional partners, but most will go to artists looking for a long-term studio lease.
When it opens late this year, the building at 327 S St. NE will include space for public programming, including a gallery for exhibiting art. With STABLE, the founders hope to build a living room for the D.C. arts community.
“We have been very clear that we want a cohort of working visual artists that reflects the city,” Meyers says.
To that end, the founders, along with STABLE program manager Rebekah Pineda, will be weighing the applications by a few different criteria. They don’t have any preference about what medium artists use to make things. In fact, STABLE even has some opportunities for artists working in a “post-studio practice” (i.e., on laptops). The founders are more specific about people. They’re looking to assemble “a very diverse population, and diverse in every different way—age, background, ethnicity, visible and invisible minorities, all of that,” Meyers says.
Studios at STABLE will range from $175 per month at the smallest end to $1,375 for the largest studio—a rent-sized figure below market rate for an apartment-sized space (750 square feet). The studios can be shared, and STABLE encourages artists who know they’d like to work together to apply together. Shared post-studio space runs at $100 per month.
Every artist who rents a studio at STABLE has access to a shared lounge. There’s also a flex space that STABLE artists can reserve, a multi-purpose room for packing or photographing artworks, for example.
The gallery, however, won’t be available for artists at STABLE. “We’ll be working with other partnering organizations to program that space,” Meyers says. “It’s not a vanity space.”
Those partnering organizations include the Phillips Collection, The Studio Visit, Hamiltonian Gallery, the Washington Project for the Arts, and Halcyon (the subject of a recent City Paper profile). Kate Goodall, Halcyon’s CEO, sits on STABLE’s advisory board, as does Transformer cofounder and executive director Victoria Reis and Corcoran School of the Arts & Design director Sanjit Sethi, plus others from the city’s art industry.
Hamiltonian and The Studio Visit are two organizations that have invested in studio space so far. One-third of the total studios at STABLE will be reserved for institutions, which might use the spaces for fellowships or to host visiting artists. Eventually, STABLE hopes to work with cultural attaches at embassies in D.C. to develop a residency program for international artists. For STABLE, partnerships like these will help to pay the bills, while visiting artists will help to shape the culture. “The idea being that there will always be fresh activities so that our population doesn’t become insular,” Meyers says.
STABLE is also hanging up a help-wanted sign. The organization is launching a national search for an executive director, who will work alongside Pineda. In addition to working with artists, the executive director will be responsible for fundraising, developing patrons and programming, and establishing partnerships.
Since Doud, Meyers, Teal Price, and Pineda launched the venture last October, STABLE has raised more than $350,000. The founders hope to nudge that figure up to $500,000, and they just started an Indiegogo campaign. But they have enough to plan ahead. The next step is to announce the jury that will review and select the applications, which STABLE is accepting all summer.
“We’re looking for artists who show rigor and excellence in their artmaking,” Meyers says. “Beyond that, we’re not trying to assemble artists who do a specific kind of work.”