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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Performing Arts

Mission: chashama empowers artists in New York City with space to create by transforming unutilized real estate into work and presentation space.

Results: chashama, which means “to have vision” in Farsi, was founded in 1995 by Anita Durst, to celebrate and honor the legacy of theater artist Reza Abdoh. The organization initially focused on the production of theater performances in vacant properties along 42nd Street in Manhattan. Durst began fielding many requests from artists asking to use the spaces during off-nights. Recognizing that the lack of affordable studio and presentation space was a great threat to sustaining a diverse, dynamic, and provocative cultural environment in New York City, Durst’s vision was to find a way to connect artists and performers with untapped reserves of temporarily vacant commercial real estate. In response to artists’ need for space, Durst gained access to other buildings on the same block, creating a strong presence on the block of 42nd Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway. chashama sponsored nearly 700 gallery shows and performances during its first five years. In 2007, chashama expanded into studio spaces at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, 37th Street in Manhattan, and on 126th Street in West Harlem, and has operated with a strong presence in these neighborhoods ever since. chashama also programs exhibition, gallery, and performance spaces all over New York City, including Queens and the Bronx. One of the flagship spaces of chashama when we had many spaces along 42nd street in midtown manhattan. Now is the site of a through-block between the Conde Nast and Bank of America buildings where performances may be put on from our performances program Since 1995 chashama has supported the work of over 12,000 artists in New York City through subsidized studio space, and free exhibition, rehearsal and performance space. We have brought cultural programming to neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs, including areas where the arts are not already well represented. In 2013 we programmed 150 public events in 21 venues, and supported 130 studio artists. In 2014 we are programming 26 venues, supporting 126 studio artists, and are on track to present a similarly large number of public events. chashama connects artists with vacant real estate - redistributing the untapped resources available in our urban landscape by partnering with private and public property owners. By structuring a mission around this goal, chashama has become a major force in the NYC arts community by supporting the work of an increasing number of emerging artists every year.

Target demographics: artists

Direct beneficiaries per year: 537 artists gain access to free and subsidized gallery, rehearsal and performance space

Geographic areas served: New York City

Programs: affordable work and presentation space.

Community Stories

15 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Andrew52

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

chashama is one of the most effective organizations with which I have worked. As an organization, they under promise and over deliver. They have made a major contribution to the revitalization of Downtown Jamaica. I simply cannot say enough good things about their mission, business model and leadership.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

chashama is such a hard-working organization that truly supports all artists in New York City. Transforming over hundreds of unused spaces into presentation and work space throughout all 5 boroughs is an incredible accomplishment. I had the pleasure of volunteering at many events in the past and at each event, the organization shows true dedication to their work and are always a delight.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

chashama is an organization who not only gives artists the space to create but also nurtures their artists.

Ted_4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of playing(some might call it work) with Chashama for almost all of it's history. My friend helped put it together and it's been growing ever since. Each time I do something with them, my appreciation for the arts grows!! KEEP GROWING CHASHAMA THE WORLDS NEEDS MORE OF YOU!!!!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been fortunate to have been involved with Chashama for many years. The service that they provide to the community that they work in , is second to none. Space is the bread and butter of there services. In the metro NY area this is a huge financial burden on any individual or organization or individual. They provide money, artistic support, administration support, facility support and act as a liaison between various NYC agencies. What they do for the art community,youth,and other non profit groups, may never be reproduced

Volunteer

Rating: 5

5 stars. I have been volunteering chashama for a year and they help to me a lot in internship and They develop my art knowledges and skills. Also, I have deep connection with staff member and artists of chashama. They are approachable and willing to help you with events and studio. Keep it up the good work chashama!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Living as a "starving artist" is especially hard in an urban area like New York. With so many museums and Music and Arts losing government funding, artists sometimes give up their passions for security and comfort. Chashama, a non-profit organization, provides the resources necessary to fuel the creativity of these artists. By extension, Chashama is supporting forward thinking, which is so vital to our society's progression. Even more so, Chashama's staff is supportive and friendly. Go to one Chashama event and you'll leave with a few friends and more than a handful of contacts. As a volunteer I found the Chashama staff to be very efficient. Chashama is very considerate of their volunteers' time. I feel Chashama deserves recognition for thief contributions.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering with Chashama this year when I became aware of their mission and immediately realized that I would like to assist this wonderful organization. It has turned out to be one of the best decisions that I have recently made, as I have immensely enjoyed attending their events as well as meeting their enthusiastic staff and fellow volunteers, whom are so dedicated and committed to the cause. Given the shortage of affordable real-estate in the NYC area, the service that they provide cannot be overemphasized! Although I am not an artist, I have always appreciated the artistic community and will gladly support an organization that helps nurture artists, to help them flourish and grow to accomplish and achieve their visions and goals.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love Chashama! Every event I've attended has been full of wonderful, friendly, helpful people. The artists that bring together always have interesting and original pieces to share. The environment is warm and welcoming. I look forward to each and every Chashama event I hear about. Their commitment to their vision is unsurpassed.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

chashama is a fantastic organization! I am honored to be given the opportunity to work for chashama and assist them in carrying out their mission to help artists flourish! They repurpose buildings in transition, invest in neighborhoods, foster local talent, and sustain a range of creativity, commerce and culture.

1 Danisa A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chashama is an amazing organization that really opens its gallery for all to see. Their amazing events, gallery openings and other projects brings in people who aren't normally the "artsy" type. I myself am far from being an artist, but came into this appreciating art. And helping Chashama was a way to help artist and enjoy their work. We all can benefit from what they are able to create. I was able to meet many amazing people and hope to continue participating with Chashama.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I helped out at their Gala, early summer, that took place in Anita's way, near Times Square. It was a great event and the coordinators were really organized in supervising their volunteers. They were specific in what they wanted each of us to do and really professional in their handling guests and workers. I liked their efficiency and overall love for detail that they displayed at the gala. I would gladly help out again.