NEW YORK, Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Board of Directors of Spaceworks, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the shortage of stable, affordable rehearsal and studio space for artists in New York City, has named Risa Shoup as its new Executive Director, effective March 1.
"With today's heated New York real estate market, it has become significantly more difficult for visual and performing artists to find affordable, long-term workspace to create their art in New York City," said Pam Wasserstein, Board Chair. "With the appointment of Risa Shoup as our new Executive Director, the Board has reaffirmed our commitment to be a solution to this problem and to help New York remain at the center of cultural creativity."
Shoup comes to the organization with a strong background in community development and the arts. Shoup most recently served as Executive Director at FOURTH ARTS BLOCK (FABnyc), a neighborhood nonprofit founded in 2001 by cultural and community groups on New York's Lower East Side to purchase eight properties from the City of New York and secure them as permanently affordable spaces for nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. Shoup has previously held management positions at The Invisible Dog Art Center, BRIC Arts Media, The Wassaic Project and Chashama. Shoup is also affiliated with Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts - New York, through which she serves as a consultant on CreateNYC, the City's first cultural plan.
"I believe that creating safe spaces for all New Yorkers to develop artistic practices is integral to our thriving cultural ecology," said Risa Shoup. "I look forward to growing Spaceworks' real estate portfolio and deepening our relationships to the communities in which we work as I build on the strong foundation created by Paul Parkhill together with the staff and Board."
Founded in 2011, Spaceworks currently operates five spaces serving more than 5,000 artists, including playwright Young Jean Lee, Soho Repertory Theatre Company, sculptor Esther Ruiz, and choreographers Kyle Abraham, Doug Varone, and So You Think You Can Dance alum Sonya Tayeh. Its spaces house 34 visual arts studios and have hosted over 46,000 hours of rehearsal to date. Sites include: SPACEWORKS LONG ISLAND CITY, SPACEWORKS @ WILLIAMSBURGH LIBRARY, SPACEWORKS GOWANUS PHASES 1&2, and SPACEWORKS @ BROOKLYN CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC. The organization is also in the pre-development stage of a 21,000 square foot renovation project on Governors Island and has a pipeline of projects from the Bronx to Staten Island.
"Risa is a committed leader who holds the values of equity, social justice, and service to the arts and artists at the core of her work," said Spaceworks Artist and Soho Repertory Theatre Producer Meropi Peponides. "I can't think of anyone better to lead this important organization as it continues its mission to create and maintain affordable, accessible and inclusive spaces for artists to create and thrive in New York City."
Shoup succeeds Spaceworks' first Executive Director, Paul Parkhill, who will be leaving the organization at the end of February to create a planning and development consulting practice. "I couldn't be more thrilled by Risa's appointment and her vision for the next phase of Spaceworks," said current Executive Director Paul Parkhill. "She brings a deep understanding of artists, an impressive track record creating and managing art spaces, and extensive experience working with diverse communities across New York City."
About Spaceworks: Established in 2011, Spaceworks is a nonprofit cultural community development organization dedicated to expanding the supply of long-term, affordable rehearsal and studio space for artists working in New York City. Learn more at spaceworksnyc.org.