Queens Workspace Initiative


The Queens Workspace Initiative (QWI) is a project conceived and led by Exploring the Metropolis (EtM) to help ensure that the performing arts offerings in the borough of Queens are the best they can be.

The major activities comprise surveying performing artists, cultural facilities and other stakeholders; making recommendations to stakeholders and policymakers; and conducting pilot programs.

For the last year, Exploring the Metropolis has been assessing workspace needs for performing artists in Queens.  We’ve interviewed key players, sent out surveys, held focus groups and studied ways to help the Queens performing arts community grow and thrive. 

We have released the following report on our findings:

Queens Performing Artists & Workspace: “I Want to Do More Than Survive—I Want to Thrive” Download the report PDF

QWI News

Background and Approach

Queens emerged as a key area of focus for EtM in our administration of the EtM Con Edison Composers Residencies. We noticed that both the caliber and quantity of artists who call Queens home are on the rise, and we realized that no one has  yet properly surveyed the performing arts landscape there.

Given our primary focus on artist workspace, we will concentrate our efforts on space as a means of engaging relevant stakeholders within the borough. We will also find out what artists, cultural facilities, audiences, funders, and policymakers think would promote growth within the borough’s performing arts community.



Process and Schedule

Phase 1: Reconnaissance

Fall ’13 – Winter ‘13

We will begin our work with a series of focus groups that will help us gain an initial sense of the issues that are most important to artists and cultural facilities.  Focus group participants will be selected from a combination of our own existing networks and recommendations from people/organizations who know Queens well.  Participants will span a range of ages, neighborhoods, ethnicities, and performing arts disciplines.

From there we will conduct surveys to help us quantify and prioritize the overall needs of artists, cultural facilities, and audiences in Queens.  The results from those surveys will point us toward general areas of focus, and we will then incorporate data from existing sources.

Phase 2: Vetting

Winter ’13 – Summer ‘14

To begin the second phase we will share our initial report with the Focus Groups and Steering Committee.  Their input on those findings will help determine if additional surveys or research are necessary, and will help inform our preliminary policy and strategic recommendations.  We will connect with the Focus Groups and Steering Committee again in order to vet those recommendations before presenting them formally at a public Town Hall Meeting.

Phase 3: Implementation

Fall ’14 – Summer ‘15

The final phase of our project involves testing our recommendations in practice.  We will partner with a few organizations to conduct pilot programs based on our findings.  Those programs will span from 3-9 months, throughout which we will assess their efficacy and adjust them accordingly.  At the end of the pilot program we will incorporate what we’ve learned into final recommendations and offer the resultant report to our stakeholders.




The Queens Workspace Initiative is funded by the David Rockefeller Fund and The Endeavor Foundation. 

The Queens Workspace Initiative is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.



About Exploring the Metropolis

EtM is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting NYC’s performing arts community by analyzing artists’ workspace needs and revitalizing underutilized capacity within cultural facilities.  In the past our work has also led to the creation of new facilities to meet previously unmet artist needs, and strategic/policy initiatives that help bolster the success of artists, cultural organizations, and the host of entities that support them.