St. Louis’ 129-year-old Artists' Guild is in the midst of relocating. But the move won’t be far.
The Artists’ Guild is moving in late May into the old Famous-Barr building, which is owned by Washington University, in downtown Clayton.
It’s only a mile and a half away from the Oak Knoll Park location the Guild has called home for 20 years. That building is a restored 1920s mansion, owned by the city of Clayton.
The incentive to relocate came after Clayton raised its rent three years ago, from a token $1 a month to $1,500 a month. Executive Director Kathryn Nahorski said The Guild eventually solved its financial problems. But by then, it had embraced the idea of having a more modern, open space.
"Here, we'll have a very contemporary, open, high-ceiling gallery and new lighting," Nahorski said. "We'll have bulbs that we'll change that will be hot or cold or warm or cool, so we can pick the perfect light for the artwork."
The new building, which for a time housed the former Ivey-Selkirk Auctioneers, is not only more open, it's all on one floor. Education areas will now be adjacent to exhibition space.
"So there are just many benefits for our programming, by this move," Nahorski said.
Nahorski called the lease agreement "affordable," but declined to name an amount. The Guild is closed during the moving process. But before its reopening, it will still hold its annual Young Artists Showcase at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group at Crown Square by Crown Candy. That exhibition opens April 12.
The Guild is calling for submissions from Missouri and Illinois artists for an opening exhibition that plays on the idea of relocation.
“It's called ‘Move’ and it’s the concept of moving between space or spaces, real or imagined," Nahorski said.
Clayton is working with a prospective tenant for the Oak Knoll Park space. Director of Parks and Recreation Patty DeForrest wrote in an email that the city is in the process of approving a lease. She said she should be able to publicly name the tenant this June.
"The plan would be to begin renovation work late summer with move in sometime in early 2016," DeForrest wrote.
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