Harlem Art Collective Tries to Better Community With Airbnb

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Airbnb isn’t all bad. Actually, when the site is used as it was intended, it can be pretty cool. Case in point, an artist collective in East Harlem is utilizing the site to rent out two rooms in its five-bedroom apartment and uses a portion of the proceeds to fund free art workshops for area residents, DNAinfo reports.

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The Hart House at First Avenue and 116th Street is run by the Harlem Art Collective which, according to the Airbnb listing, hopes to “promote cultural exchange and artistic collaboration between artists from all over the world and Harlem” with the short-term rental. One of the house’s residents told DNAinfo that the collective is “trying to use gentrification in the community’s benefit” by pointing visitors to local businesses and eateries.

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The idea to harness area gentrification isn’t coming too soon. A report released by the nonprofit Community Service Society found that rents in nearby Central Harlem have risen a staggering 90-percent in the last 12 years, with East Harlem not far behind.

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Of the two bedrooms, one has four beds and the other has two beds. Space in the apartment, which is canvased in the works of local and visiting artists, goes for between $60 and $120 a night. In addition to contributing Airbnb proceeds to community events, the collective also hosts pop-up libraries and provides free studio space for artists.

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