DC Arts Studios | Member-run studio spaces for artists and creative entrepreneurs in Washington, DC

6925 Willow Street NW, Washington, DC 20012 – located two blocks from Takoma Metro Station

Frequently Asked Questions

What is DC Arts Studios?

DC Arts Studios (DCAS) was established by George Koch in 1979 as an artist co-op under the name, A. Salon, Ltd. The organization hosted affordable arts studios in three locations in DC: Downtown, Georgetown, and Takoma. The Takoma building was acquired in 1985 and has been a flashpoint for artists, arts organizations, and creative entrepreneurs of all disciplines ever since.

A. Salon, Ltd (DBA DC Arts Studios) is a registered tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit in Washington, DC.  EIN # 52-1176436

 

Where is DC Arts Studios located?

DCAS rents designated areas on the first and second floor of 6925 Willow St NW, Washington, DC 20012 from our landlord, Douglas Development. We share the building and common areas with numerous other tenants, ranging from an opera, to a breakdance dance studio, to non-profit organizations and for-profit companies. Visitors must find “DCAS/A Salon” on the call box near the main entrance, enter the number to call the main office during posted office hours, and be buzzed into the secure front door.

 

Where can I park?

There are various street parking options in the blocks surrounding DC Arts Studios. Please make sure you check signs, as they have time limits and DC parking enforcement is active in our area. There is also a pay parking lot near the intersection of Aspen St and Laurel St NW.

 

Is DCAS metro accessible?

DCAS is only a few blocks away from the Takoma DC Metro Station.

 

What are DCAS Member benefits?

  • Member-run organization with an almost 40 year history in DC
  • 24/7 building and studio access
  • Affordability (below market value) for studios in the Metropolitan area
  • A few blocks away from the Takoma metro station
  • Utilities are included
  • No jury to become a Member
  • No time limit on your Membership
  • No requisite open studio hours
  • Willow Street Gallery exhibit opportunities
  • Mailbox rental opportunity
  • Member events for marketing, partnerships, sales, etc.
  • Member events for brainstorming, collaboration, etc.
  • Members have first refusal when studios become available
  • Flexible work environment with a lot of freedom to outfit your own studio to suit your needs
  • Marketing opportunities on the website, on social media, etc.
  • Negotiated organizational benefits with other companies and organizations
  • Opportunities to reduce monthly Studio Fee via “Fee Credit” volunteer work at DCAS
  • Located in the heart of a supportive, arts-appreciative community, on the border of Takoma Park, MD
  • Building lease is secured through 2021

 

What is an Associate Membership?

DC Arts Studios is introducing a NEW program! Associate Membership is for artists in the DC Metro Area who want to be involved with DC Art Studios, but aren’t ready to commit to licensing a studio.  Associate Membership, as of July 1st, 2017, is $50 per year.

Benefits include:

  • Name and professional webpage link on the DCAS website
  • Temporary Rentals of available studios or classroom space at a discounted rate, all utilities such as Wifi included
  • Use of available 4’ x 8’ wall space for Open Studios exhibiting (location based on availability and is first come, first served)

If you are interested in becoming an Associate Member, contact us at office@dcartsstudios.org for more information!

 

Is there a DCAS main office? What are the hours?

DCAS employs one part-time (20 hours/week) staff member – the Administrative Director – to manage the administrative tasks associated with the smooth running of DCAS. The DCAS main office, Studio 104 on the first floor, has posted office hours on the door – Mondays 10am – 1pm; Wednesdays 4pm – 7pm. If you have a question about DCAS, you are welcome to email the Administrative Director at office@dcartsstudios.org or call (202) 882-0740 during post office hours.

 

Does DCAS provide 24/7 organization support?

DCAS does not have 24/7 “on call” organization support. For almost forty-years, this Member-run organization has existed by having Members communicate and collaborate amongst themselves to resolve issues, make organization and space improvements, and help each other out.

 

Are all artistic mediums allowed at DCAS?

We are often contacted by artists inquiring if their medium is allowed at DCAS. While most are, at this time we are not able to accommodate some due to our studio setup and HVAC system.

Dance companies, musicians, theatre companies: DCAS has studios on two floors – the first floor is for the “louder” arts that involve sound; the second floor is for the “quieter” visual arts. Once a first floor studio becomes available for dance, theatre, or music, it will be posted online and specified as such.

Oil painters: DCAS has numerous oil painters who are Members. Our second floor studios have a strong HVAC system with fans and open ceiling studios to encourage air circulation. However, we recommend avoiding strong smelling/toxic chemicals for the health and safety of all Members. We recommend oil painters consider no to low smelling chemicals and solvents. Oil painters are requested to store all solvents in closed, ideally fire-proof containers. Oil and solvent-soaked paper towels should be disposed of in an approved, safe manner daily. DCAS maintains a strict rule on no dumping of chemicals or solvents in sinks as they can damage the plumbing. DCAS, as a tenant of Douglas Development, has fire extinguishers and a sprinkler system that are maintained per code; however oil painters are encouraged to have their own dry powder extinguisher in their studio in the event of an oil paint or solvent fire. Please note that DCAS does not provide monthly pick up or disposal for solvents or paints – proper, environmentally responsible, and fire-safe disposal is the responsibility of the oil painter. Please speak with the Administrative Director to find out if there are studios that would accommodate oil painters.

Woodworkers: Due to our HVAC system and open ceiling studios, woodworking options are limited depending on the machines/equipment used, chemicals, dust, and noise created. Please speak with the Administrative Director to find out if DCAS would be a good option for you. You may need DCAS Board approval to become a Member.

Welders/metalsmiths: Due to our HVAC system and open ceiling studios, welders are unfortunately not a good fit at DCAS at this time. We cannot permit open flames in the studios. Other metalsmith options are limited depending on the machines/equipment used, and strong odors and noise created. Please speak with the Administrative Director to find out if DCAS would be a good option for you.  You may need DCAS Board approval to become a Member.

Airbrushing: Due to our HVAC system and open ceiling studios, airbrushing is unfortunately not a good fit at DCAS at this time. However, there is a shared loading dock space, via a freight elevator, that many artists use for spraying strong smelling chemicals and paints. Please speak with the Administrative Director to find out if this would be an option for you.  You may need DCAS Board approval to become a Member.

 

What “contract” do DCAS Members sign?

DC Arts Studios is not a commercial rental property. Member do not “rent” or “lease” from DCAS. Our Members sign License Agreements. DCAS is the leaseholder to our landlord, and we give Members license to use a delineated portion of the space and shared common areas. Member names are not on our master lease.  

The difference: A License Agreement is about access; a lease is about taking on the responsibilities of the whole space. That’s why our License Agreements are nice for artists – they are flexible; Members can downsize or upsize to other spaces; Members aren’t committed to year-to-year terms, but month-to-month and can vacate at any time with 60 days notice. If an artist were to rent a commercial/office space, the artist would be responsible (as a ‘lease’holder), paying monthly rent and having year-to-year terms, maintaining the building including building insurance, property taxes (or a portion of), utilities, trash and recycling pickup, and business insurance. DCAS covers this for all of their Members (with the exception of the artist’s own business insurance). 

For more information about the differences, here is a short article outlining them: 

http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2015/03/what-is-the-difference-between-a-lease-and-a-license.html

 

What is the payment policy for studio usage?

As DCAS is not a commercial rental property, our Members do not pay “rent.” The Studio Use Fee is your monthly fee to use your studio, payable to DC Arts Studios. It includes your monthly membership fee and the common area fee (to maintain upkeep in shared common spaces). The Studio Use Fee is due by the 20th of every previous month.

Example: October’s Studio Use Fee is paid in full by September 20th.

 

How do Members submit in payments?

Members can pay their Studio Use Fees via:

  • Paypal (to asalondc@gmail.com)
  • Personal check, bank check, or money order (to DC Arts Studios)
  • Cash

 

Should Members have insurance?

It is recommended that artists and arts organizations have their own insurance to cover damages to their property. DC Arts Studios carries building insurance, however we do not cover business insurance for our Members – that is the responsibility of the Member. Fractured Atlas lists several options (please note that DCAS has not researched these companies and does not endorse them): https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/liability

 

What is the Membership process at DCAS?

Once an artist has met with the Administrative Director to discuss which studio is the best fit for them, they can move forward with DCAS Membership. The AD will prepare two copies of the DCAS License Agreement for the new Member to read through and sign/initial. Once the new Member has signed both copies, the AD and the DCAS Board must approve and sign them to execute the agreements and finalize Membership. The AD will alert the new Member once a copy of the executed License Agreement is ready for pick up at the DCAS office.

The new Member will also fill out a Member Questionnaire, which includes important details such as contact information, building security information, and Member preferences (such as listing on the website, Fee Credit interest, etc).

New Members will submit in a refundable Security Deposit (one month Studio Fee), a refundable Key Deposit (for the key/fob), and the Studio Fee for the first month of occupancy. Note that the first month’s Studio Fee may be prorated depending on arrival date. These payments must be made before occupancy of the studio space.

 

What is the Member move out process at DCAS?

Per the signed License Agreement, Members must give 60 days notice in writing to vacate. If the vacating Member would like to move out sooner, they can request to have their studio posted as available starting at an earlier date if another Member or a prospective Member is interested in taking over the License Agreement before the 60 days are over. The Member is responsible for the 60 days Studio Fee payments in the meantime.

The refund of the Security Deposit and Key Deposit is based on the state that the studio is left in, the return of the key/fob in working order, and if there are any outstanding payments due to DCAS from the vacating Member.

 

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