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CONTACT: Jennifer Bridges, Gallery Administrator
6 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23220
Phone: 804.782.8672 / Fax: 804.782.9880
Email: artspacegallery@worldnet.att.net
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August 22, 2003

Artspace will be moving to PlantZero

Richmond, VA—Artspace has decided to move into PlantZero, the old Westvaco building in Richmond’s Manchester District. The move could happen as early as January or as late as March 2004. An official date will be announced in the near future. The membership held several meetings over the past few months to discuss the move. After learning of an increase in rent for our current space a few years ago, and the possibility of the sale of the building, the membership organized a Three-Year Plan, which included relocation of the gallery. There were several concerns over leaving behind the Broad Street area during a time of rich cultural and revitalization projects. The First Friday events in particular boosted our attendance figures astronomically; however, the gallery has not witnessed a significant increase in sales or donations. We believe the move across the bridge will be a step in the forward direction for the organization.      
 
Artspace and Manchester developers are confidant people will frequently visit the PlantZero area. Briefly worried about practically non-existent foot-traffic through the Manchester area, the gallery realized that the majority of our visitors travel by car from the West End and Churchill. Even visitors from the Fan opt for arriving by car rather than walking across Belvidere’s multiple lanes of heavy traffic. We do not believe it will be impossible to attract art enthusiasts to the new location. 
 
The proposed downtown revitalization project is most tempting; however, the revitalization plans in progress for the Manchester area are equally beneficial to the gallery. Artspace has an opportunity to be part of a pioneering effort to develop the Hull Street area. What it all comes down to is that Richmond City, not just Broad Street has a chance to become culturally saturated and that is something I believe all Richmonders will support!
 
The reasons for our move are largely a result of the gallery members’ strong concerns over our current building’s limitations. There is no lift/elevator to assist exhibition installation on the second floor; excessive electrical improvements are needed to bring the gallery lighting up to par; there is limited storage space; there is inadequate performance space; and, most importantly, the building lacks handicap accessibility. The membership would much rather use donations and grant money given to the gallery toward programming and administration than toward building restoration and structural improvements. 
 
The new space at PlantZero will have a safe, lighted and fenced parking area; it will be handicap accessible; it will have adequate performing space and suitable storage space; it will have climate control to protect the artwork from high levels of humidity; and it will be equipped with a security system. Such amenities increase the gallery’s eligibility for both federal grants and exhibition loans. 
 
Many people, when hearing the news of the gallery’s move, immediately express regret that we are leaving behind such a beautiful and unique space. My response is that the space being developed for Artspace at PlantZero is just as unique as our current building. It has a saw-toothed ceiling and skylights. Its industrial character is similar to the popular New York gallery model. I believe the building is also eligible for historical points. Several people also express concern about our association with an “arts center.” I cannot stress enough that Artspace will retain its autonomy. We have our own outside entrance and signage and we have full governance over what we plan to exhibit. Tom Papa, PlantZero’s developer, wants to avoid the “Torpedo Factory” model. As Artspace member Judy Anderson reported, “It is a place for working artists (painters, sculptors, photographers, craftspeople). Thus, the possible concern about being situated among a clutter of artists hanging all sorts of works of varying quality should be eliminated.” 
 
Tom Papa, PlantZero developer, is committed to developing the area as an arts district and is thoroughly convinced it will be. Papa stated, “There are not many quality arts organizations in Richmond, Artspace is one of the few. It has been my goal to try to help strengthen the arts.” Judy Anderson, in her report to the gallery membership regarding the area to be developed reported the following:
           Already committed to the Plant Zero building are artists Wolfgang Jasper and Will May. ArtWorks, an organization similar to SBAC has also signed on to the project. In the area around PlantZero, the Southern States building has been sold for upscale apartments and mixed use; Carter Riley ad agency has moved into the old Spaghetti factory on Commerce; Crawford Mfg, just behind PlantZero, is to be converted into upscale apartments. Between PlantZero and the old Manchester area, Tom Robinson, realtor and developer, has sold $5 million worth of property in the last 6 months. In the old Manchester area, several plans are underway including upscale apartments and galleries, furniture designer Steve Dee’s shop and studio, and spaces for performing arts groups. Bill Thomas is restoring a dozen homes in that area. Sahin Altug is converting the old Heath Dept. building at Bainbridge and 11th to Bainbridge Art Factory with 50 spaces, 20 committed already, to be open around the end of October.
 
For more information regarding Artspace’s move to PlantZero, please contact Judy Anderson at
judith-anderson@comcast.net, or Petie Bogen-Garrett at pbogart@artsgal.com. Judy and Petie have been working on this project for sometime, and can provide more details.

15 Years of Continuous Exhibitions

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