ASTORIA — A membership-based communal art studio will open its doors in the neighborhood next month, offering workspace for painters, sculptors, potters and other visual creators, as well as art classes for the public, its founder said.
Tina Stipanovic, who owns RaR Bar and restaurant on 35th Avenue and 30th Street, will launch AlterWork Studios a few doors down in a former auto-body shop at 30-09 35th Ave., where artists can rent shared or private work spaces with access to pottery wheels, a kiln, easels, sewing machines, printmaking and screen-printing equipment, and other tools.
"I call it kind of like a WeWork, but for artists, or a gym for your creativity," said Stipanovic, who has run her restaurant for almost a decade. "Essentially any time we're open, you come in and you do your work. You have all the tools and resources at your disposal to do whatever you need."
The 1,500-square-foot studio includes a shared workspace that members can access for $375 a month, $120 a day or $20 an hour, depending on their needs. There are also seven 7-by-6-foot spaces available for $675 per month.
The site is equipped with free WiFi, an assortment of donated tools and art materials for use, plus a gallery space where members will get a chance to hang their work. Stipanovic hopes to add a wood shop later this year.
Stipanovic also plans to offer classes and art workshops for those who'd like to try a new craft that will be open to non-members. Members will get a 20 percent discount on classes and on food and drink at RaR Bar.
"You get to see what other people are doing, brainstorm things and be in a community of artists," she said.
Stipanovic, who is a sculptor herself, says she started the project to help fill a need in the area for affordable work spaces for artists that have become increasingly hard to find in the city.
"Long Island City used to have a lot of warehouses and studios, but they're either super expensive or have closed down," she said.
AlterWork will host an open house for prospective members to check out the site on Sept. 30 from 12 to 5 p.m. The studio itself will open in October.