Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Open studios, 2009 - Farewell to Belcher St. Studios

When I picked up the Art Span catalogue, I went looking for the listings for Belcher Street, one of my favorite places to visit, only to find that the building has been sold and the artists booted out. Here's a loud boo to the "new owners" who evicted a thriving art colony and a hope that they find new spaces and appreciative customers. It's a sad sign of the times that so many art spaces in this neighborhood have closed in the last year - Hayes' Valley Reeves Gallery and Bucheon to name two. They are still doing business on line but it's not the same as having a physical space. I know that all across the country, artists and art spaces and places have been hit hard. We seem to be the first to feel the pain and the last to receive even a penny when the economy recovers. I chant my mantra, Ars Longa, Vita Brevis, and hope for better times. In the meantime, get out there and support your local artists. These artists are all in new spaces and the Art Span website has listings for dozens more artists who are showing this first weekend in October:

Tracy Grubbs: Landscape
Carlo Abruzzese:
Adams 100:
Julie Alland:
Peikwen Cheng:
Paul Ferney:
Tracy Taylor Grubbs:
Michael Mullin:
Hadley Northrop:
Paul O'Valle:
William Salit:
Rebecca Szeto:
Chris Wiedman:


Anna L. Conti said...

Nancy, I interviewed one of those artists, Sandra Yagi. I'll post it soon. I loved that space, too, as a visitor. But I heard that it wasn't so great from the artist's POV, as least after the new owners took over.

Nancy Ewart said...

I heard a few rumblings about the new owners as well. Apparently he was rather erratic and charged the artists extra for all sorts of things. But still, it was a great place to visit - easy to reach via public transportation, on a nice street and with a great community. I knew one of the artists, Charles Stinson who is now over at 1890 Bryant St. I looked at a space there myself but couldn't bring myself to pay the extra rent. Unfortunately, there are so few really good options here in SF that I'm sorry to see one of them go, even if the option wasn't as good as it should have been.

Sandra Yagi said...

Belcher studios became an empty and sad place at the end. The owner evicted everyone upstairs, leaving me and two others downstairs. My last few months there were depressing. I also live in the neighborhood, so I feel this is a great cultural loss for the Castro/Duboce Triangle area. The neighborhood is becoming just a bunch of restaurants and bars.

Nancy Ewart said...

Well then, he deserves an extra boo and hiss for his behavior. I agree with you that the Castro area is becoming overrun with bars; I was shocked by how loud the bars are from Castro to about 16th St (?). The bar with the pink window was playing its music so loud one Sunday afternoon that I could hear it from two blocks away. Unfortunately, they are not the only ones behaving in a rude and inconsiderate fashion. It makes me sad to see the area so commercialized and trivialized which makes the loss of Belcher St. Studios used to be even greater.

Hadley said...

Thank you for drawing attention to the undeserved demise of a wonderful space and community.
My blog if anyone would like to see it is