Studio in the Park
Week 1

This summer, the Queens Museum is excited to host Studio in the Park, a new collaborative project with ArtBuilt Mobile Studios. Studio in the Park is an artist residency program in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, featuring two month-long artistic projects that respond to the enormous diverse public space that the Queens Museum is lucky to call home.  As the residencies unfold, keep your eyes on this site as I (Reya Sehgal, Public Programs & Curatorial Intern) chronicle the artists’ week-by-week maneuvers in the studio and its surroundings via weekly blog posts on life in and around the 150 sq. ft. mobile studio.  Our first post brings ArtBuilt founders Guy Buckles and Esther Robinson in to discuss the origins of the project.

This past Monday, the studio was moved into its home for the next two months, a grassy area adjacent to the Museum and situated on a busy entryway into the Park. Check out the arrival of the new mobile studio below!

"We have a studio crisis right now. And we need to have solutions right now. So, let’s start right now,” says Esther.  ArtBuilt Mobile Studios proposes a new solution to the space crisis for artists: a movable, ownable asset.  Guy’s beautifully-designed prototype is inspired by the "Tiny Houses” in the Pacific Northwest, villages of small structures aimed at alleviating problems of homelessness and competition for resources in increasingly expensive urban areas. While cities like New York have little space for new residential structures, the mobile studio may solve a problem for artists who have little access to both space and funds, giving them an alternative studio opportunity that is low-cost, easy to produce, and aligns itself easily with the nomadic lifestyle of today’s artists; and, as ArtBuilt’s founders can attest, these small, mobile structures can offer workspaces for myriad uses—nonprofit offices, clinics, small businesses, neighborhood produce stands, and more.  ArtBuilt’s mobile studios, less than a year old, have already appeared in Philadelphia and at the Ideas City Festival in New York City, but this is their first long-term tenure in a NYC space.  Doing a public project in New York "is a real milestone for us,” says Guy, who hopes that the Studio in the Park will be an "effective proof of concept for this notion of mobile studios meeting artist space needs in the city.”

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The real difficulty ArtBuilt faces is where to park the mobile studios—something that PARK(ing) Day has also been attempting to address through its temporary parklet initiative.  New York has a complex permitting and licensing apparatus, so Guy and Esther knew that an institutional partnership would help make this project possible.  They approached the Queens Museum—Esther worked with us through a Ford Foundation partnership before she started ArtHome —because of our connection with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, our history of working with communities outside of the museum’s physical limits, and our involvement with the World’s Park initiative.  Esther was particularly excited about working in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. "I love this park so much!” she exclaimed. "Every time I come here, I’m exhilarated about being a New Yorker.”

We joined forces and created a two-part residency program geared at engaging the visual and social landscapes of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and its surrounding communities. The Studio in the Park program begins this week and runs through mid-August.

 

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For the next 4 weeks, the studio will be occupied by People’s Design Laboratory, a project by artist-educator Patrick Rowe in collaboration with members of Mobile Print Power, a multigenerational printmaking collective founded at Immigrant Movement International. Stay tuned next week for more information on his project, or, better yet, drop into Patrick’s open hours this week to sketch out some ideas for new signs for the park!  The studio will be open from 3 to 7pm Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 1pm to 5pm on Saturdays.

More information about the Studio in the Park residency program can be found in the official press release.