Multifamily owner and operator American Landmark Apartments is embracing art as an amenity and expanding its Artist in Residence program that launched in 2020.
The pilot program offered an emerging visual artist no-cost housing and studio space for up to one year in exchange for art classes and events for residents of the Midtown 24 community in Plantation, Florida.
The inaugural resident was Artem Mirolevich, a visual artist based in South Florida and New York City. He offered weekly art classes for children and adults as well as regular “Drink and Draw” workshops with live models. During the period, he also produced several pieces of art that spoke to the experience of being a working and teaching artist during the pandemic.
The Artist in Residence program is the brain child of Rachel Lubeck, a fine arts graduate from Pratt Institute as well as an accomplished artist and permaculture professional, and Gladys Margarita Diaz, owner of Urbaniza Studio, which links financing and design services for property investors with a focus on multifamily.
“Our vision was to create a residency in partnership with a leading multifamily owner and operator that would engage art as a force to enrich the lives of residents,” says Diaz and Lubeck, the Artist in Residence creative director. “As a way to provide housing to artists where in exchange, they would share their talents through the form of art as an amenity, the Artist in Residence program has provided residents with a respite from isolation and given them an opportunity to channel their inner creative, highlighting the need for this service and the demand for a unique on-site outlet.”
While the program originated before the pandemic, Mirolevich was able to adapt and help residents enjoy the amenity as it rolled out at Midtown 24 last year.
“Aside from him and his family having a place to live and his own workshop to continue making art, the residents also received a new platform to discover something new and come together. Rather than adding another tangible amenity, the program’s human aspect alleviated residents from the stress and anxiety they may have felt and instead brought them to a place where they could interact with their fellow neighbors,” says Diaz and Lubeck. “As a responsible corporate citizen, it was a practical way for American Landmark to give back and truly define the meaning of community in the multifamily space.”
The reaction from the residents has been very positive, according to Diaz and Lubeck. “Whether it’s a Drink and Draw for adults or an educational kids’ class that families can enjoy, each lesson helped create a real sense of community.”
With the success of the pilot, the program is expanding to two more multifamily communities this year—Shelby at Northside in Fort Worth, Texas, and Parc at Wesley Chapel in Tampa, Florida. The new artists include:
- Recycling artist Calder Kamin will be the artist in residence at Shelby at Northside. The Austin native recently partnered with Disney to celebrate the 30th anniversary of “The Little Mermaid” to inspire audience to transform trash into art. She will offer art classes and Drink and Draw events as well as be developing a recycling center to focus on reusing waste.
- Rose Dunseth, educated at Savannah College of Art and Design, will be the artist in residence at Midtown 24. Her paintings in water-based media depict bright and narratively dense scenes about relationships within communities. She will host Drink and Draw events as well as teach small classes for various age groups centered around nature as well as utilizing sustainable materials in the context of art.
- Multifaceted mural artist Austin “Slim” Gee will be the artist in residence at Parc at Welsey Chapel. Skilled in graphic design, painting, and illustration as well as a member of several music festival production teams and arts alliances in the Tampa Bay area, he will offer art classes, host Drink and Draw events, and create a one-of-a-kind mural installation for the multifamily community.
Kamin and Gee moved into their communities in early May and will begin classes this month; Dunseth will be moving in and starting classes in June.
“This year, we have been through a global pandemic, and we are focusing on healthy, community-oriented amenities through the arts, empowering people to create and connect in a local, accessible, and judgment-free zone,” notes Diaz and Lubeck.