August 31st is National Match Maker Day, which got us thinking: What makes for a good match in a studiomate?
Sharing a studio with another artist can make an expensive studio more affordable. A studiomate can also be a source of creative inspiration and peer support. Before saying “I do”, here are some tips in consider.
Are you the sharing type?
Do you have compatible art processes? Will your equipment, materials or chemicals be conducive to the art making processes of another artist?
Do you have compatible personalities? Do you like to work in silence or prefer to listen to music? Do you work during the day or night?
Can the studio space be shared with more than one artist?
Can you and your studiomate easily separate your art practices in the space without major renovations
Is the space conducive to sharing equipment and materials or do you need to keep yours private and secure?
Is sharing studio space or sub-leasing allowed by the building landlord or owner?
Is the structure and studio space safe?
Do you know and trust your prospective studiomate?
Is your prospective studiomate a friend? A stranger? What are the pros and cons of each?
Where can you find other artists who want to share studios? Social media, websites, art spaces, community gathering spaces – coffee shops, libraries, campuses.
Have you met with him/her to discuss your expectations and create a studiomate “pre-nup” of roles and responsibilities? Draft a memo of understanding that both parties sign.
Will they pay their rent on time? Do you have a prior financial history with them to take into account?
Practical Considerations + Study Safety
Do you want to join an established shared studio or collective or have your own space to share?
Is this a sublet lease in which you are ultimately responsible for the rent (even though the artist will be paying you for his/her portion of the rent) or are you both lease-signers, equally responsible for paying the rent? Who is responsible for the rent if your studiomate decides to move out? Contact your local Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts or other types of legal assistance for advice.
Does the artist have his/her own business/renter’s insurance? Do you?
expectations and responsibilities for studio space upkeep and maintenance?
Does the person use non-toxic chemicals and materials and use appropriate equipment?
Sharing a studio might make sense for you if you find the right person. Take the time to plan ahead so you and your new studiomate have an experience that gives you both the opportunity to make your best art. Happy Matchmaking!