By Dawoud Kringle

ArtCondoOn Wednesday, November 19th, 2019, MFM held its Public Musician’s Forum #18. In the past, these forums had dealt almost exclusively with music business. This forum was different; it focused on an entirely different business and how it relates to the music business.

Michele Gambetta is a NYC-based artist who has been working in commercial and residential real estate for over 15 years. She has a certificate in Real Estate Finance and Investment from NYU and currently works at Bond New York Real Estate. Between 2003 and 2009, she founded and ran RIDER Projects, a mobile art gallery focused on creating positive social change on a community level.  Ms. Gambetta also holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from The School of Visual Arts.  Ms. Gambetta’s project, ArtCondo, is dedicated to helping artists hold onto their studios, remain in their communities and sustain their businesses. Their goal is to enable artists to own rather than rent property (residential and commercial), while providing a generation of local creative artists the space they need to rehearse, perform and commune.

Ms. Gambetta began by presenting the details of ArtCondo’s Kickstarter Campaign. They have purchased some land in the South Bronx with the intention of building a residential building targeting artists, musicians, and other creative people, and with a community gallery / performance space geared to reach out to the community. Having secured the land and designed the architecture of the building, the next phase is to secure the finances to begin building. Throughout, the ArtCondo project keeps a specific set of values at the forefront. This includes unique creative ecosystems with professional networking opportunities, inclusive diverse mixed income communities, low maintenance, environmentally sustainability, and economic strength.

The building itself is designed to be energy efficient and environmentally sustainable.  When an artistic community settles in a (usually) low rent district, their own artistic and cultural creations attract attention. This inevitably leads to investors securing the properties the artists live and create in, and increase property values to the point where artists can no longer afford to live there. In the end, the real estate corporations profit from the value and cultural contributions of the artists, and the artists are left with nothing. ArtCondo and real estate projects that (should follow a similar model) would help to break the vicious cycle of artistic gentrification through assisting creative people to secure equity and financial autonomy.

The ArtCondo project is an important step in assisting artists in taking control of their finances, and securing power in order to live on a level of equality with others.

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