The New York City Artist Safe Haven Prototype is a collaborative residency program that provides housing, support, and career development to international artists who:
- Are at risk of political, gender or religious persecution.
- Need a respite from dangerous situations.
- Are from conflict regions anywhere in the world.
- Are from countries where repressive regimes severely limit freedom of expression.
- Seek to enrich the city’s arts and culture, human rights, and diaspora communities, as well as New York City at large, through their practice and personal narratives.
The program brings Residency Unlimited (RU) together with Westbeth Artists Housing, the 384- unit artist housing complex in the West Village; Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI), a non-profit organization comprised of immigration and human rights attorneys who provide free immigration representation and resettlement assistance to at-risk artists;; and ArtistSafety.net (ASnet), an international volunteer network providing case management for threatened artists and culture workers. Joining the cohort this year is PEN America, in partnership with Fordham University, focused on literature,human rights, and protecting at-risk writers and free expression in the United States and abroad.
The program currently operates two single occupancy loft units at Westbeth. The first unit houses a visual artist for periods of six to twelve months and is managed by AFI; the second unit houses a writer under a new partnership with PEN America. To date, the program has supported two visual artists at risk, from Iran and Syria respectively, and a writer at risk from Nigeria. These artists are actively integrated into Westbeth’s community of New York City artists, and more broadly into New York City’s creative communities.
In addition to housing, the coalition provides a wide range of professional, legal, and personal/social support services to its artist residents as well as connections to curators, arts professionals, and public programming of their works in New York City and beyond.
The NYC Artist Safe Haven Prototype is made possible with support from the Art and Social Justice grant by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation