The future looks grim for Artspace Gallery, one of the San Fernando Valley's few art galleries dedicated to showcasing the work of local painters and potters.
A.H. Warner Center Properties, the owner of the building on Oxnard Street, gave Artspace a 30-day notice to vacate on May 1.
The gallery will leave its 2,000-square-foot ground floor facility--which it has occupied rent-free for more than eight years--and move to a smaller space one floor up.
Dave Garcia, general manager for A.H. Warner, insisted that Artspace is not being kicked out of the building but is only being asked to cooperate with the needs of the owner.
But Ross Hopkins, the gallery's manager, said his conversations with the owners have led him to understand that the relocation will be short-term. When Warner--and its management company, Voit Cos.--finds a paying tenant for the new space, Artspace will be asked to leave, Hopkins said.
Since the new lease is month-to-month, Artspace's future appears to be unstable at best, Hopkins said.
Over eight years, the accumulated rent on Artspace Gallery's current space comes to about $750,000, according to Garcia.
The artists who have used the space know all too well how difficult it is to secure a place to show their art.
"It is very rare to get a chance like we had," said Ellen Westendorf Lane, a painter who has shown at Artspace. "You really don't have opportunities to put on shows like this."
This month's show, ending May 31, is the last exhibit in the current space. "I can't be angry about this," Hopkins said. "We were lucky to have it for the last eight years. The luck just ran out."