Long-time Williamsburg art scene mainstay Cinders Gallery, one of the only artist-run galleries still operating in the neighborhood (and having an opening party tonight from 7-10pm, don’t miss it!), has been priced out of the storefront at 103 Havemeyer Street that founder-directors Kelie Bowman and Sto (pictured) have occupied since opening in 2004. They announced the sad news in an email sent out last week:
After more than 6 years at our present location on Havemeyer st. in Williamsburg, we are unfortunately being forced to move by a giant rent increase… Ahhh, so this is gentrification come full circle, eh? We never thought we were immune but after so many years we had gotten really comfortable here so it was a bit of a shock when our landlord delivered us this ultimatum (the increase starts in January). But where do we go from here?
We spoke to Kelie Bowman about where they might go from there.
The L: The tone of the Brooklyn Paper article about the gallery was perplexing…
Kelie: Yes the title on the Brooklyn Paper article is a strange one. I don’t think we are to blame for gentrification, but instead the rezoning that was passed a couple years back. We have certainly made fun, interesting, great things happen in the neighborhood which has made the area/building a desirable place to be…
Are there any specific spaces, streets or areas you’re looking at for the move?
We are looking at a few different options here in the neighborhood but are in the very beginning stages of this process. We are definitely looking in Williamsburg and Greenpoint and don’t plan to move to Bushwick.
Do you get the sense that your landlord is open to negotiations, or does he just want you out?
I don’t get a sense that our landlord is open to negotiations. He is pretty ignorant to the fact that we have invested a lot of time, energy and money into the space/building/neighborhood and at this point just sees dollar signs.
You’re looking into getting non-profit status; would that enable you to stay put? Would that change the way the gallery operates (ie. as a zine shop) in any fundamental ways?
The non profit would not enable us to stay, but does open the potential for larger, more ambitious projects that are funded. It takes some of the pressure off of running a commercial art gallery, but we do still plan on selling works. It’s the same mission just bigger!
How have the artists who show with you reacted to the news?
Artists are very saddened by the news, supportive, encouraging, thankful and excited for us. We feel honored to have worked with such an amazing crew and are very excited to continue and get better.
Are there any projects you’ve had on hold for the last six years that you’re thinking you might get back to in the new year?
Projects, yeah, we have a bunch going on all the time. Right now we are planning an opening for [today], a mask party at the end of the month, big installation for the NY Art Book Fair at PS1, Maya Hayuk opening and a funeral for 103 Havemeyer. Past that in the new year, a group show curated by Thomas Campbell, some out of town shows…
More news of Cinders’ future as it unfolds.