Studio A at the Williamsburgh Library is my favorite Spaceworks rehearsal space. I love the windows, I love the fireplace, I love the history of the building, which is the first library Andrew Carnegie gifted New York City in 1903. When we renovated the 2nd floor, we chose to keep the natural hardwood floor in Studio A, which brought so much warmth to the space.
Soon after we opened, we learned how important the space was for creatives, especially dancers, because of its size and openness. But we also found the aging hardwood floor was degrading rapidly. Splinters ran rampant, old nails were coming up above the surface, wide gaps between planks made it difficult to dance barefoot. One time, I was on the first floor of the library while a dance troupe was rehearsing upstairs—the main floor of the library shook so badly I thought the roof might cave in.
We needed something safer, more comfortable, and more supportive that would decrease the disturbance for library patrons working downstairs. But without a budget to replace the floor, we had to make the most of it for a while, knowing that it was far from ideal. I am pleased to announce that a new floor was installed at the end of July. This new floor is sprung, with additional padding to mitigate sound and vibration, and a multipurpose vinyl top to accommodate all forms—even percussive and folkloric dance, with or without shoes. While optimized for dance, the floor is still functional for community uses and theater rehearsals. We are so excited to welcome the first creatives working on this new floor, and hope it will serve you for many years to come.
This was a team effort. Special shout outs to all of the artists who made it work and brought so much activity to the studio over the last 3 years, thank you. To Risa Shoup, Executive Director, who insisted that we install a high quality, professional floor. To Preeti Sodhi, Project Director, and Ariel Phillips, Director of Development, who wrote the grant applications to secure the funding to install the floor. To NYSCA and The Mertz Gilmore Foundation, who funded the renovation. And most of all, thank you to the volunteers and Squad members who helped us to keep the old floor functional until the end. Your many hours nailing, sanding and taping proved to me that the most valuable thing our creative community shares is #CommunalCare.
Josh Rowe, we/our
Credit: Simon Courchel