2007_1_ask_artist.jpgI'm writing on behalf of a special friend I met who is wanting to become a photographer in NYC. Well I have worked with her much and have landed her a few jobs, but how in the heck do you find a decent place to live on a "starving artist budget?" What if any links, resources, and/or advice would you be willing to share to help us find some low budget housing that is safe and friendly and will allow my friend to get on her feet with her new career.

Not only is that a struggle that every starving artist is facing, but also those who are just trying to pay the average housing cost in a city where rents are skyrocketing. As many of our friends and colleagues have had to do - get a day job and work on your art at night so you can pay the rent.

However, we did come across the Artist Help Network, which lists organizations in several cities that provide studio and housing space for artists. They also have a listing of books that may provide more suggestions. Because NYC is such a thriving artist city, we'd imagine that there would be a lot of competition for whatever low-cost artist housing would be out there. Fractured Atlas is a site dedicated to artists and arts organizations, and we were able to find some more suggestions there. However, the information in that particular thread had not been updated in two years. Their suggestion was to look for "80/20" buildings, which provide 20% of apartments in new luxury buildings available to low income tenants. This offers tax exemptions and certain zoning restrictions for the developers as an incentive.

As a starving artist, she would probably qualify for low-income housing. Information on NYC affordable housing can be found at the New York City Housing Authority. A lot of questions about NYC housing can also be found at the New York City Rent Guidelines Board. Another resource in general for artists in New York is the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).

Our other suggestion? Move farther outside of Manhattan with a lot of roommates and your rent will get cheaper. Just be wary of the Craigslist scams. Anyone else have suggestions for surviving the city on a starving artist salary?

Photo by Terrance Fell