Thursday, February 21, 2013
Nonprofit artist organization Arts Habitat is on the move again, but not in a good way.
The 23-year-old organization has been working towards its singular mission – to build a permanent artist community of live/work space on the East Garrison section of the former Fort Ord – for more than 20 years. In the meantime, its members need a place to call a temporary home.
They struck an agreement in late 2009 with developer Patrick Orozco to occupy spaces at Seaside’s City Center for free until a paying tenant came along. Computer Works eventually did.
In July 2012, Arts Habitat was on the verge of homelessness. It found another temporary but long-term base in 3,000 square feet of the Access Monterey Peninsula building on Garden Road in Monterey. The organization sublet the space from AMP, which for years has had a lease that AMP Executive Director Paul Congo calls a “sweetheart deal” with building owner Clear Channel.
Now Arts Habitat is vacating that space. And AMP might be as well.
“Clear Channel told [AMP] their lease was being terminated,” says Shirmaine Jones, Arts Habitat’s administrator, “though [AMP] is hoping [Clear Channel] will extend the lease.”
The nine artists who sublet AMP facility studios from Arts Habitat didn’t want to wait out the negotiations and began moving out. Arts Habitat is now looking for another home.
Congo suspects the AMP building, which came in a portfolio of Clear Channel media assets, has probably just been overlooked until now by the conglomerate.
“I don’t know what [Clear Channel] is going to do,” Congo says. “They’re not obligated to provide [us] space.”
He hopes a donor might help them with a favorable loan or donation.