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!
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.
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.
The NYC up-and-coming art world is incomplete without chashama. They create incredible opportunities for just the right people. chashama greatly adds to the flavor of this city with their wonderful events and wacky staff (whom are also undeniably approachable and well-focused). This organization has exposed me to so many things that I was unfamiliar with before!
I have enjoyed and benefited from my association with chashama since the early stages of my art career. My early shows with chashama lead to more exposure and a further reach for my work. Anita Durst and her team are supportive and friendly and genuinely care about the artist they exhibit. Thank you Anita and thank you chashama for all that you have done and your continued support.
Todd Monaghan, Artist
chashama is there for artists in a way that no other nonprofit is. Building community, providing affordable space and establishing a way for art-making to occur outside of academia and the mainstream. For so many years chashama has given back to New York all the beauty and provocation that her artists can muster.
My husband and I are both chashama studio artists and have helped organize the performances at the annual gala. Without chashama we would not have an affordable space to create our works of art and we would not be able to make a living as an artist without both our studio and the support of the organization.
chashama goes over and above to give artists spaces to create and display their art while bringing art into the everyday lives of New Yorkers and presenting tourists with a great example of how NYC supports a creative environment.
chashama has, since 2005, offered me access to a temporary project studio, a week-long residency in upstate NY, and most recently access to an empty storefront where I presented my work for two weeks. Each situation has been important to me as a professional artist, and the staff has always been courteous, efficient and very warm and helpful.
The structure and nature of this organization allows it to both be flexible and efficient while offering great opportunities to self-directed artists without micromanaging their projects. If you are based in the NYC area and have an idea you want to try out, or a short- or long-term need for space, this is definitely the first organization to approach.
In a city oversaturated with artists and not enough spaces for those artists to create work, Chashama miraculously gives space generously and freely. Chashama offered my company (Malleable Dance Theater) space, support, and enthusiasm for its' first NYC performance.