Modeled after sites like Home Exchange, Artist Residency Swap asks artists to make a profile for the workspace or studio they’d like to post, and their home if they so choose. Ideally, artists trade working and living spaces to facilitate the experience of being abroad, but artists are not required to list both. They can add details about the neighborhood, the nearby art scene, and the studio itself—for example, to say whether a space is good for painting or better suited for work on a laptop. Once a listing is published, artists can message each other to learn more, and hopefully, set up swaps.
Wright and Fahler are currently leaving it up to the artists to work out the arrangements and coordinate with one another. They’re not even sure if artists have made any swaps thus far, as they’re not able to see artists’ conversations. While in the future, they might like to add some Airbnb-like functionality to allow artists to set up a calendar for availability, in its current state, the site is very bare bones. The founders were quick to admit they aren’t coders.
That said, Artist Residency Swap is currently free for artists to use. “The nice thing about Finland is that we are blessed with a lot of different organizations that fund art,” Wright said, noting that work on the site has been backed by such funding. In future, he acknowledged that it may be necessary to charge a commission in order to grow the platform and meet the needs of users. “We’ll try to keep it free, or as cheap as possible, for as long as possible,” he added.
Ultimately, Wright and Fahler hope that the platform will encourage artists to share more than just their spaces with one another, but ideas and meaningful experiences, too. “Of course, working in a new environment to do your artistic work is always really good,” Wright said, “but I hope this can give something else which is the sharing aspect of it—that the more you share, the more you get back.”