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From PoJo: Big news about the old high school

"School district sells Beacon Studios to gallery owner with plans for art museum"

 

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20110115/NEWS01/10115032...

 

BEACON — The Beacon City School District has sold the former high school, also known as Beacon Studios, to New York City gallery owner Ethan Cohen.  

William Zopf, president of the school board, said that the sale took place Jan. 7 at a price of $1.2 million. 

The board has placed the proceeds in a reserve fund to buffer the tax impact of likely drops in state aid to the district, Zopf said. 

 Cohen said in a phone interview Friday that he and his partner, Zhu Ceng, plan to call the building the MOCA Beacon Art Community, with MOCA standing for museum of contemporary art. 

 Their vision involves a combination of commercial, residential and nonprofit uses, including an extension of his New York City gallery, an internationally themed museum for contemporary art, and rental spaces for artists.

...

 

Much more info in the article.


Views: 824

Tags: arts, high school, museum

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Comment by Birdy on January 17, 2011 at 8:40pm

The artists should take second fiddle unless they are contributing. The fact they had the space while the school (us taxpayers) covered them for years should be enough. They should say thank you and find other spaces.

 

 

Comment by Ben Larson-Wolbrink on January 17, 2011 at 2:39pm
Just a head's up for folks who may be looking for studio space.  First Presbyterian Church is in the process of gutting our basement.  We're in the process of dreaming/scheming potential uses for the space, which has held offices/program spaces in the past.  Like the Beahive, we'd be open to conversations about mutually beneficial (financial, cultural, etc.) ways to utilize the space.  I love the thought of it being used for studio space. If you're interested, please feel free to contact me.
Comment by James Watkins on January 17, 2011 at 1:02pm
Most artists I know complain about most everything, but especially about rents and studio space.  It usually stems from the fact that most artists are quite poor.   In this case it sounds like three things are on the current complaint list.  They feel, as tenants, that they are not being treated properly or spoken to in a direct manner.  Secondly, they are disappointed that this "community within a space" that they have invested in emotionally is coming to an end.  And three, that their value to Beacon always seems to take second fiddle to the immediate financial needs of the school board, developer/owners, and the city itself.  This attitude can come across as spoiled entitlement talk but I think that for all the lip service Beacon has made on behalf of the creative community, the reality becomes quite different when crunch time comes around.
Comment by Andy Brown on January 17, 2011 at 9:48am
The school board could have made the decision to move the tenants out and have an empty building, but an empty building would have to be maintained and need heat in the winter and still been a burden on Beacon taxpayers. You would have to ask the school board if they estimated the cost difference. I believe the school board kept the tenants in the building because it made the property more marketable to show some income, even if they still lost money. If any Beacon taxpayers didn't like the arrangement with tenants, their frustration should have been directed at the school board not the tenants.  The board probably made the best financial decision given the circumstances.
Comment by Birdy on January 16, 2011 at 8:51pm
From the article>>>>It was MacEnroe's impression that tenant artists could stay but that rents would rise, as the school district would no longer be subsidizing the building's operation and it would perhaps lose its exemption from property tax.<   WE taxpayers were subsidizing the artists. Quit bitching.
Comment by Birdy on January 16, 2011 at 8:49pm

They turned down the original offer because those people already owed the utilities etc.  I am excited about it. Beacon tax payers were paying for artists to rent the spaces. Their rent did not cover the utilities + repairs etc.

 

 

Comment by Scott Tillitt on January 16, 2011 at 7:39pm

I don't know the situation personally (only secondhand), but I feel for everyone. As James alludes to below, I've been approached by a couple anxious folks to see what might be available at BEAHIVE.

There is a possibility of taking over the 2nd floor, and we're trying to rally some folks to meet and see what the needs are and explore options.

BEAHIVE won't be able to provide the amount of studio space for artists that the high school has, of course. But community we can provide. And we'll do what we can do help folks.

Comment by Ben Royce on January 16, 2011 at 6:24pm

Sorry for the gung ho write up, I edited it. I didn't know the whole story.

 

I remove the rose colored glasses.

 

Comment by Rick Price on January 16, 2011 at 10:47am
What's happening at the studios is that most of us are being asked to leave our studios, and consolidate into rooms that need to be divided to make them affordable at the going rate of $1.18/ sq. foot. The problem lies in that he's asking us to do it in a month (we realize that he actually can't do this in this small amount of time), and that the spaces do not exist yet. Also, it's also being done in a very haphazard manner, without much empathy to how this move/loss will effect us. Rent is not being raised per se, but many tenants are in smaller spaces, and their only option if they want to stay is to move into the larger spaces that the new owner is building (which are twice the size of some of the smaller paces), which is essentially raising their rent. Another problem is that there is no set speech he is giving each artist he meets with, so everyone has been given slightly different information about their potential space and what is going to happen. This has created a bit of a hysteria in the halls with lots of questions marks floating in the air, and a feeling of distrust in the new owner, and a foreboding feeling of the future of his intentions based on the poor first impression he has left on everyone he has met with so far. Some people have suggested that though he is working with local artists now, (because he initially needs our rent) once a phase or two of the construction is competed, we will all be kicked out to make way for more renovation of spaces that will either not exist or will be so expensive that most local artists will not be able to afford a space in MOCA Beacon. Many of you are from Brooklyn and saw what happened there because of situations similar to what this COULD become: a community that either stiffles your ability to enjoy it because it is so expensive, or a place from which to flee to new places with Beacon-like potential and opportunity.We welcome his ideas and the potential that they offer Beacon, but IF he does not actually integrate with the community, we need to make sure he understands that this community will not take being treated in such a manner and will make it difficult for his endeavour to be as fruitful as he and his foreign investors hope. Christine and I are weighing our choices between what might be available at Beacon Studios (and if that's even a good idea based on the first week of chaos), and other potential spaces within Beacon that can offer us a sliver of the incredible community we have been a part of at Beacon Studios for the past several years. BCN'ers, please keep your eyes and ears out for potential spaces to rent, and even better, investors that might be able to help us buy a building and create a new Beacon Studios that is not a side thought or a left over, but a real Studio with a presence that supports artists and makes it affordable for artists to get a foothold and follow their passions.
Comment by margot kingon on January 16, 2011 at 8:23am
While I want to be enthusiastic about the growth in beacon, I'm feeling pretty skeptical right now. Shouldn't the new owner be trying to foster positive relationships with local artists instead of kicking them out of their studios? We moved up to the area because we wanted artist space and a community that would support it.I'm curious to know who could afford to rent the new spaces? Is there a new wave of wealthy artists moving up form the city that I don't know about? It's just a shame to alienate the people who helped make Beacon the draw that's it's become today.  It doesn't sound like a smart business move to me. I hope I'm wrong.

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