Live/Work Studios


In addition to a wide breadth of public programming and our accomplishments in the realm of urban revitalization,AS220 also provides 60 live and work studios, of which 80% are designated affordable housing. This makes AS220 the leading provider of affordable housing in downtown Providence. 

AS220 offers residential and work studios in three buildings: the 115 Empire St Complex, the Dreyfus, on the corner of Mathewson and Washington Street and the Mercantile Block, neighboring the Dreyfus at 131 Washington St. AS220 provides space to artists who seek a diverse, stable and affordable studio environment. The residents of the third floor of Empire Street and the Dreyfus and the Mercantile Block studios are a community of ideas rather than simply a community of tenants. Our goal is to create a cooperative living environment driven by the artistic energy of its inhabitants. While most of our tenants are working artists, if your involvement in the arts is not directly through creation but supports creative community in some other way, you can still become a resident at AS220. When you apply, include an explanation of how you would participate with and benefit from the creative community at AS220 with your support materials.

AS220 seeks artists and members of the creative community who demonstrate a serious commitment to their creative work and a genuine need for affordable space. Most of our residential units have income restrictions. If you make less than $26,500 annually, you qualify for the income-restricted studios at the Dreyfus and Empire St Complex, while the Mercantile has a range of income restricted units with varying income caps. There are also a small number of residential studios at the Dreyfus and the Mercantile Block where there is no income cap.

Applications for these spaces are considered by a review panel, consisting of a representative for AS220’s property management team, a Board Member, current artist(s)-in-residence, and/or artists from the larger community. When applying for an income-restricted unit, applicants must provide proof of income qualification (8 weeks of pay-stubs or similar). We ask that applicants send samples of their creative work along with the application; but we do not evaluate the “quality” of this work when making determinations regarding the residency.

None of the buildings provide parking and AS220’s buildings are all smoke free. Each artist-in-residence is responsible for 5 hours per month in community service within AS220, and is expected be respectful in their use of shared facilities. Leases for residential and work studios are on an annual basis. Rent includes 24 hour access, basic maintenance, and in many cases, heat, air conditioning, and/or electricity.

Check out our VACANCIES page for the latest updates on available spaces!

Residential and Work Studios

Empire Street

Our Empire Street Complex offers 11 residential studios ranging from 245 to 410 sq ft. All of the residential units at Empire St, commonly referred to as “Floor 3”, are affordable one room studios within a communal live environment offering shared bathrooms and a large kitchen. Rent for these spaces range from $333 to $446 and include all necessary utilities. Empire St tenants must not exceed the income-restrictions for designated affordable housing. As a resident of Floor 3 you are expected to contribute $10 per month to a kitty for communal cleaning supplies and other shared expenses, and, like all tenants of AS220’s live/work studios, you are expected to contribute 5 hrs of community service every month to help keep AS220’s gears turning. No parking provided, no smoking in the buildings, and no pets allowed. Artists-in-Residence at Empire Street must be committed to its cooperative living structure which requires communal chores, attendance at monthly floor meetings, respectful use of common facilities, and general good will. Every month, a visiting Artist-in-Residence lives and works in a studio on Floor 3 reserved specifically for this purpose. On the second floor of the Empire St Complex are three work-only studios, ranging in size from 180 to 320 sq ft and range in rent from $98 to $226, utilities included. Second floor rentals include a private studio space and use of communal bathroom and clean-up facilities.

The Dreyfus

The Dreyfus offers 11 income-restricted affordable residential studios, ranging from 356 to 515 sq ft, with rents from $435 to $611. Three studios are also available to artists who earn more than the annual income cap, ranging from 485 to 495 sq ft, with rents between $849 and $902. Accommodations at the Dreyfus include a studio with kitchenette and private bathroom. Dreyfus rent includes heat, AC and hot water; however, tenants pay their own electric bill. Residential laundry facilities are located on the buildings 4th floor. There are three second floor studios reserved exclusively for work ranging in size from 140 to 518 sq ft with rents from $188 to $265, including all utilities. In lieu of their new Mercantile Block digs, AS220’s former Printshop was also converted to an additional two-room work studio. Accommodations for 2nd floor work studios include private studio space and use of communal bathroom and clean-up facilities.

The Mercantile

Floors 3 & 4 of the Mercantile contain a total of 22 residential studios ranging in size from 600 to 880 sq ft, each featuring a private bathroom, kitchen. Studios at the Mercantile offer tenant-controlled heat and central AC as well as an old-fashioned ceiling fan. Residential laundry facilities are located on the buildings 4th floor. The 131 Washington Street entrance leads to the lobby equipped with a passenger elevator, a bicycle storage area, and a mailbox alcove. Rents for 16 out of the 22 residential studios are income-restricted affordable housing; the remaining 6 studios are not income-restricted. Second, third, and fourth floor rents includes gas heat and hot water and municipal water and sewer charges; but tenants are responsible for electricity in their units. Residential studios also enjoy free internet access. The second floor of the Mercantile contains eleven work, arts-related, and non-profit spaces, several of which have been joined to provide more space. The second floor’s tenant mix includes the AS220 Industries: the AS220 Community Printshop, AS220 Labs, and AS220 Media Arts; the non-profit organizations: College Visions and Rhode Island Council on the Humanities (RICH); as well as three individual work studios. Non-residential studio leases include the use of shared facilities including two second floor bathrooms.