LONG ISLAND CITY — Queens artists are about to get a brush with lower rents.
City officials cut the ribbon Tuesday on a new space in Long Island City that will offer rehearsal space rentals for performing artists on an hourly basis and at a below-market rates.
The new Spaceworks LIC is a pilot of the nonprofit organization Spaceworks, and is the first of five planned locations that aim to open up more affordable workspaces for artists in the city.
"Artists tell us that the demand for studio and rehearsal space far exceeds supply," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the opening of the new site, at 33-02 Skillman Ave.
The 3,800-square-foot location is made up of three rehearsal studios and one music studio. Artists can apply online for a Spaceworks Card, and are then eligible to rent the rooms at a rate of $12 to $16 per hour.
Spaceworks is also piloting another location in Gowanus, Brooklyn, which will be made up of private visual art studios that will cost $350 a month. Those studios will be available via a lottery system in September, according to the organization's website.
Plans are being developed for future sites at the Brooklyn Public Library's Williamsburg and Red Hook branches in 2014, and on Governors Island in 2015, officials said.
Spaceworks is also partnering with community art organizations to increase its neighborhood outreach, including a collaboration with Long Island City's The Chocolate Factory.
The Chocolate Factory's director, Sheila Lewandowski, said there are only a few other places in Western Queens that offer by-the-hour space rentals for performance artists, making Spaceworks a welcomed addition to the neighborhood.
"There's an incredible need," she said.