In a bid to alleviate the burden of Miami’s affordable housing crisis, Oolite Arts has announced a groundbreaking initiative for its resident artists. Starting in 2024, artists at Oolite Arts will receive an additional $12,000 per year as a housing stipend, thanks to the generous support of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. This move aims to address the pressing issue of Miami’s affordable housing crisis in one of the world’s least affordable housing markets.
Miami-Dade County has recently declared a housing affordability crisis, with a staggering six out of ten employed adults burdened by housing costs. Among the hardest hit are artists, who often struggle to make ends meet as they establish their creative careers. Recognizing the pivotal role artists have played in shaping Miami as a global cultural destination, it is crucial to ensure their ability to live and work in the city.
Dennis Scholl, President and CEO of Oolite Arts, emphasized the significance of finding solutions to the affordable housing crisis to maintain Miami as a thriving home for artists. “Our artists are one of Miami’s greatest assets. But our city will only continue to be a viable home for them if we find solutions to our affordable housing crisis,” said Scholl. He expressed gratitude for the support of the Knight Foundation, which enables the Studio Residency program to bridge the financial gap for Oolite Arts’ resident artists.
The housing stipend is part of a larger $1.25 million grant from the Knight Foundation, which also includes funding for enhancing artists’ use of technology and the development of Oolite Arts‘ new campus in the City of Miami. While it is not uncommon for artist residencies to offer housing or stipends, such programs are typically designed for visiting artists from outside the local community. The Knight Artist Housing Stipend stands out by specifically supporting artists to remain in their home community.
Victoria Rogers, VP/Arts at Knight Foundation, highlighted the essential role of affordable housing in nurturing art and culture within a city. “Art and culture are an important part of a city’s vitality, and that’s why over the years Knight has supported independent artists and the institutions that support their work. For artists to live and work in our communities, affordable housing is essential,” Rogers explained.
Oolite Arts, a nonprofit organization that has championed artists since its establishment in 1984, offers comprehensive programming to support artists at all stages of their careers. The organization has previously provided assistance to Miami-based artists during times of crisis, such as the launch of a relief fund during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to the support from the local cultural community, artists like Alejandra Moros, Reginald O’Neal, and Diana Eusebio have been able to build their careers in Miami. However, the affordability crisis has deepened and continues to impact emerging artists. Eusebio, a Miami native and artist, expressed her passion for the city but highlighted the lack of sustainability in the arts community. “There’s a passionate pool of people that are born and raised here that are choosing Miami, but they can’t afford to live here,” Eusebio shared.
Applications for the 2024 residency at Oolite Arts will open on July 12. As one of Florida’s largest artist support organizations, Oolite Arts’ residency program provides artists with free studio space, access to exhibition opportunities, funding opportunities, and now, the Knight Artist Housing Stipend.
To be eligible for the Knight Artist Housing Stipend as part of the Studio Residency, artists must demonstrate proof of residency in Miami-Dade for at least two years prior to the start of the residency in January 2024.