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.
chashama is a wonderful NYC based organization that gives artists the tools they need to thrive. We had the pleasure of conducting professional practices workshops for artists via chashama and it's clear that the community and support they provide is unparalleled!
chashama not only provides un/under-represented artists such as myself with incredible exhibition spaces and exposure, but also an opportunity to sell work at reasonable prices (sans steep 50% standard gallery commissions), keeping only a modest 25% of sales which goes right back into program support--this allows artists to recoup expenses, pay bills, and keep creating, while also teaching artists that in order to benefit from opportunities, one must support the institutions and organizations that provide them...a message that is not taught in art schools nor in the gallery world. chashama is incredible!
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.
My experience in the spaces this organization manages has been uniformly positive. Open Studios events, gallery exhibits, performances in theater spaces, display windows and site specific venues have all introduced me to levels and kinds of art I might not otherwise have become aware of, as I have often encountered them in the kinds unexpected places chashama programs with artists and art.
chashama is doing incredible work transforming vacant spaces throughout the city into spontaneous, exciting venues for experimentation! I was immediately intrigued passing by a performance happening in a storefront window. Stumbling upon chashama helps me remember the spirit of NYC and the magic of stumbling on the unexpected. The weird, the beautiful, the thought-provoking - I think they do it all and they do it well!
Affordable studio space for an artist is hard to come by. Chashama provides a much needed refuge for artists on a budget to create their dreams. The nice thing is that it is not short-term. I've had a studio in The Brooklyn Army Terminal for a few years and am ever so grateful. It is quiet and conducive to creating with minimal intrusions. And chashama provides other support for its resident artists, making it easy to settle into a great community and go to work. I highly appreciate every moment.
As a long term visual artist-in-residence, as well as the executive director of the youth arts organization Project YEAH, Inc. (www.projectyeah.org) that has partnered with chashama to provide educational arts programming for at-risk youth and youth offenders that truly does make a social difference, I heartily endorse chashama as a vital and important component of the NYC arts community. Chashama provides opportunities for a plethora of artists of all expressions (opportunities that are simply not available through other arts nonprofits). Most artist residencies are sadly not affordable for most struggling visual artists, nor do they supply continuous, varied opportunity and support. Chashama also remains artistically broad-based promoting all artistic expressions and styles. Founder Anita Durst's personal dedication and vision continues to shine through the organization despite chashama's continuous growth. I am always proud to continue my relationship with chashama.
I feel privileged to sit on the board of chashama. I was introduced to the charity by a friend who invited me to the gala. Immediately upon entering I went into full sensory overload! The vast number of performances and fabulous costumes were mind blowing. The energy at the gala was like nothing I have experienced at any gala prior. I knew I needed to find a way to become involved. I met with the founder, Anita Durst, and learned how this is a true passion project and every effort comes from her genuine love for art, artists, and NYC. chashama helps numerous artists and has had an enormously positive impact on different NYC neighborhoods. It is an amazing charity that I am proud to be a part of.
The aspect of chashama's portfolio that deserves special recognition is it's history, trailblazing vision, and the hope it gives for connecting New Yorkers to progressive socially responsible corporate leaders.
The organization was established in 1995, decades before the current trend in digital pop-up civic spaces which is an important area of focus among Urbanists, Designers, Tech Entrepreneurs (you can verify this by checking out research coming from The New School, NYU, and Columbia's GSAPP and reading publications like The Atlantic's City Lab or following the work of organizations like Spontaneous Interventions.
chashama's work with local artists over the past 20 years has created a very powerful grassroots New York City voice that preserves a dialogue around the best of what's emerging in the fine arts and performance, as well as new areas of art such as Game Design, Video, and Digital Art.
Under the leadership of Anita Durst, the chashama network feels like a family, and actually is an important cultural scene of innovators, thinkers, creatives, and doers who are shaping the NYC cultural experience by talking about the value of public discourse in refining the zeitgeist of our times.