The Email List That Grew and Grew

Cold Spring resident behind popular listing service for artists

By Alison Rooney

Stephanie Diamond loves a good list. That’s because a list — one of her own invention — changed her life.

Diamond, who moved to Cold Spring in July with her husband and daughter, is the founder of Listings Project, a free weekly email for artists with information on living and studio/performance/rehearsal spaces and opportunities such as exhibits, open calls, internships, jobs, services, events, classes and items for rent, sale or barter.

Diamond launched the project 12 years ago from her Yahoo account after emailing about 50 friends in search of a Manhattan apartment. After she found one, she kept getting tips about space so shared them with the group. Then a friend then asked her to “list” a space he had available, which led to more listings.

Stephanie Diamond (Photo by A. Rooney)

As the project grew, she realized it could have a larger purpose. “I had a need” for an apartment, she says. “When my need was met, I was able to see the potential of that need being met for others.” She maintained it as a hobby for eight years. But after being laid off from a teaching job, she needed to generate income.

“As an artist I thought, I can’t charge,” she recalls. “There’s a stigma to charging, and I was afraid to ask.” She was surprised that, when she did begin to require a fee for submissions (but not to receive the weekly email, which remains free), subscribers did not protest but instead congratulated her. They wanted to contribute, she says.

Highlands Trends on Listings Project

Artists going to Newburgh
Places with no trains where rents are cheaper
Artists who buy a big space and rent out parts of it

Listings Project has grown largely by word-of-mouth, without benefit of social media or advertising, Diamond says. It today reaches 160,000 subscribers in about 70 countries, although most real estate listings are in New York City. The volume of listings increased to the point where Diamond hired three employees (a technology officer, graphic designer and community manager), each of whom works remotely, to help her screen each submission.

“That’s at the core of the project,” she says. “I’m protective of artists not being taken advantage of.” She and her team “are behind every listing, asking questions.”

An example of the weekly email

Diamond grew up in Manhattan, where her mother was an artist and her father a landlord. “What I do now is a hybrid of my youth,” she says. “When I was a child, my father and I would take long walks and he would brief me, as in ‘This is scaffolding.’ I must have loved it because I’m still fascinated by these things.”

After attending the Rhode Island School of Design, she returned to New York and gravitated to an art method called Social Practice, which she explains is “used to engage with communities and the self beyond traditional art-object making. As a painter uses paint and canvas or as a sculptor uses a chisel and stone, Social Practice artists use social systems, situations and public space as their materials.”

She says she realized her Listings Project was a form of Social Practice when someone asked her to speak about it. “Social Practice approaches creating with a community,” she explains, “as opposed to creating for a community.”

How to Sign Up

To subscribe to Listings Project, which is free, visit listingsproject.com. The fee for a listing is $30 if submitted by 10 a.m. Tuesday for the following week, or $60 for the same week. (Brokers, managers and third-party services are not allowed to post.) There are also “extended deadline” fees of $60 to $180 if you miss the cut-off for the same week’s mailing.

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