Re: Cohousing for Artists [was Cohousing for Senior Artists - Request from CNN
From: Emilie Parker (
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2017 18:14:40 -0700 (PDT)
A lot of these stories seem to highlight unfair and naive negative 
generalizations upon which to discriminate against art cohousers.  

Sent from my iPhone

> On Mar 12, 2017, at 10:13 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at] 
>> wrote:
>> On Mar 12, 2017, at 4:00 AM, Raines Cohen <rc3-coho-L [at]> wrote:
>> The state provided more than $15
>> million in affordable-housing finance, including infrastructure loans that
>> took much longer than planned to pay back because of slow sales of the
>> market-rate lots.
> Expecting to find very many artists who can afford market rate homes anywhere 
> is overly optimistic. And then finding those who want to take on a community 
> responsibility aside from their work cuts that percentage down by maybe 90%. 
> It’s a lonely hill.
> I had artist friends in NYC who bought buildings together in Soho when it was 
> still abandoned factories in the 1960s. While there are many success 
> stories—getting rich and moving—there were also many failures. I suspect the 
> successes were the result of spouses who were not artists and had income from 
> law and finance.
> One of my friends bought a 4 story building with each artist having a floor. 
> The furnace was coal burning — in the 1980s. She said she would never live 
> with artists again. They would rather sleep or work than go to the basement 
> and shovel coal, even when having a coal furnace allowed them to paint even 
> if they sold nothing. They worked wrapped in a blanket like a Greek sculpture 
> before they would go to the basement to produce heat.
> I’m not being negative or hyper-critical. I know artists. They more than most 
> people have priorities. It sounds good on paper to live in an arts-rich 
> community but the infra-structure will suffer if it depends on artists to 
> organize and maintain it. 
> We had a woman who withdrew before move-in because we didn’t have two car 
> garages, or even one car garages. A true suburbanite dependent on car 
> culture? No, an artist who made larger than life puppets. She knew her 
> priorities.
> Probably better to think in terms of the communities where there are 
> affordable units subsidized with market rate homes. An “arts" focused 
> community rather than an “artist” focused community. The one Raines described 
> sounds wonderful but I suspect you have to define the definition of “artist” 
> fairly liberally to make it work.
> Another characteristic of artists is illustrated in a story about Jewish 
> synagogues. In upstate NY and MA there is a whole area that a Jewish man 
> bought to sell to Jews who wanted to be farmers. Owning land was forbidden to 
> Jews in many places so there were obviously few Jewish farmers. Driving 
> through this area I came upon one of those rural intersections that are 
> actually town center. The only building is the one that is a gas station, 
> grocery store, and post office. If there is a lake around, it sells fishing 
> bait.
> But this one also had two synagogues. Two. Probably the only two in the whole 
> area and they were across the street from each other in different directions 
> from the store. They were very small stone buildings that would never fall 
> down but they would hardly have fit even a minyan of 10. Why not one so at 
> least a small congregation would be possible. 
> I told this story to a Jewish friend who was a European immigrant in his 
> eighties. The scene was perfectly predictable to him. He said, “Every town 
> has two synagogues. They come in pairs. The one you go to and the one you 
> wouldn’t be caught dead in.
> Artists are often the same way about art.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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