I'm trying to figure out a plausible location for this commune.
It needs to be no more than a day's drive out of New York City(in any direction, i suppose).
It would probably be some sort of converted apartment building, with several shared studios and housing for at least 10-15 artists, some couples sharing rooms.
The building would have been bought by a relatively successful artist couple from the city, and much of the supplies and money would have come from patrons and friends.
Many of the tentants would be ex-addicts or AIDS patients who wouldn't really have the means to contribute hugely financially, but many ex-tenants who became successful will donate portions of their profits. Most tenants pay little to no rent, but are expected to chip in for bills and food, as well as share cars and lend a hand when things need repairing, etc. Spending conservatively is stressed and everything recyclable is recycled, while power and water bills are cut down as much as possible.
Also, could they possibly get some sort of artistic grant?
I need this to be a plausible setting, both enviromentally and financially. The places i've lived in New York State would be far too high-cost for this sort of operation (at least they were while i was living there, they may have been lower-cost, but it would be before my time) and the neighbors would probably not appreciate it.