Recess creates opportunities for artists to work in a public setting, initiating partnerships among artists and audiences. By welcoming radical thinkers to take risks as they address complex questions in real time with their public, Recess defines and advances the possibilities of contemporary creative practice.

Our programs reimagine traditional studio, exhibition, and classroom platforms, offering artists, audiences, and program participants flexible frameworks in which to generate new works and ideas. Our emphasis on process grants Recess artists the agency to focus on a project’s development rather than its resolution and enables them to take on ambitious goals that evolve in dialogue with an inquisitive public.

Recess is always free and open to the public in order to foster an approachable environment for the meaningful exchange of images and ideas across disparate communities.


Recess was formed in May of 2009 to align with evolving conditions of creative practice and its public reception.  In response to the needs of artists and audiences, the organization fills the liminal space between polished gallery and private studio to take on ambitious projects that don’t fit squarely within the boundaries of these customary contexts.

When searching for an ideal location, we were acutely aware that emerging artists cannot afford to live or work in proximity to exhibition communities.  By launching Recess in a storefront space in Soho, once a neighborhood amenable to the emerging artist studio but now dominated by a prohibitively established arts community, we began challenging our surroundings to embrace changing modes of artistic production and reception.  Likewise, we were able to place emerging artists in a highly visible arts community, offering rare and invaluable exposure. 

Beginning in 2011, we programmed an additional space at Kidd Yellin Studios in Red Hook, Brooklyn, allowing us to reach a dynamic neighborhood and grant artists a new context in which to engage with a vibrant arts community.  In May 2012, Recess shifted its presence in Red Hook to Pioneer Works, Center for Art & Innovation.  With access to the gallery, studios, and surrounding community, artists worked to further our mission in this neighborhood.  Recess continues to partner with Pioneer Works on occasional programs and events. 

Since it’s inception, Recess has engaged in constant self-evaluation in order to best support a diverse group of artists whose exceptional works engage with communities to build a more vibrant and accessible art world.  To deepen our commitment to our constituents and further our mission, we have added a diverse line of programs. Working closely with non-profit and for-profit outfits, as well as networks and associations, Recess builds points of entry for artists from around and within the economic structures of the art world.

Today, we strive to set a high bar for the level of support we give each artist and develop avenues to create deeper, more long-term commitments to the artists we serve.  As we grow, we will realize increasingly ambitious and larger-scaled projects while maintaining our agile and flexible responsiveness to artists’ needs. We will support the repatriation of working artists in established and or gentrified space.  We will strive to keep artists in New York City.

To see Recess’s financial history, click here.


Recess is affiliated with the following networks and organizations:

Common Field

Common Practice New York


Rethinking Residencies

Soho Arts Network 



Motoko Fukuyama

Downtown Express


Željka Blakšić and Brujas

Bedford + Bowery


The Canaries 

Village Voice

Black Art Incubator

New York Magazine

Village Voice



Artnet News


Lauren Halsey



Marie Lorenz


New York Times

Brooklyn Rail

Ritta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth


Sondra Perry

Art F City

Press from past years:

Press Highlights 2013/2014