El Barrio’s Artspace (PS109)

Bloomberg Philanthropies is one of the 11 leading foundations that support ArtPlace, a nationwide initiative to drive revitalization in cities and towns with a new investment model that puts arts at the center of community development.


ArtPlace sees its role in the community as a venture capitalist. It seeds entrepreneurial projects with strong local buy-in that also connect to the community’s overall economic development strategy. It also seeks to fund projects that have the potential to attract additional public and private support.

Collectively, these projects will stimulate job growth and economic development, revitalize diverse neighborhoods, bring new and sustained development opportunities to rural and urban communities, strengthen transit corridors, tackle urban challenges through design, and build distinctive identities for communities. Art lies at the strategic heart of each of the ArtPlace projects.

ArtPlace is a national partnership between thirteen major foundations, eight federal agencies, including the National Endowment of the Arts, and six of the nation’s largest banks. To date, ArtPlace has raised almost $50 million to work alongside federal and local governments in order to transform communities through strategic investments in the arts.


In New York City neighborhoods like Red Hook, Williamsburg, and SoHo, community revitalization was led by artists. When the artists came, businesses and growth followed. Bloomberg Philanthropies contributes to ArtPlace’s general project fund in order to try and recreate this dynamic organically in communities and cities across the U.S. This includes projects that transform underused public facilities into affordable studio and living spaces for artists and their families, and for community and arts organizations’ use.

In New York City, the ArtPlace project El Barrio’s P.S. 109 is creating affordable housing for artists and their families located in a formerly-abandoned public school building in East Harlem, New York. El Barrio’s P.S. 109 is a community-driven effort that brings together a variety of partners by collaboratively addressing a broad range of locally-focused goals. These include:

  • Anchoring the El Barrio community’s dynamic cultural diversity.
  • Providing affordable housing for 90 artists and their families as well as 15,000 square feet of community space.
  • Facilitating economic growth in the community during construction and operations.
  • Bringing an important historic building back to life.
  • Ensuring that NYC remains an attractive place for artists to live and work, because they are the lifeblood of our neighborhoods.

In New Orleans, ArtPlace is helping fund a project to redevelop the six-building, two-block Bell School campus into an arts and education center with 73 units of affordable living and working space for low-income artist families. This new project, led by Artspace, will help revitalize the city’s Tremé neighborhood.

Find out more about the ArtPlace projects happening in your city.