By LIBBY CUDMORE • HOMETOWN ONEONTA & The Freeman’s Journal
ONEONTA – The mystery is clearing: A privately developed – and thus taxable – Artspace may rise above the Westcott Parking Lot, and Anna and Jim Tomaino’s “transformative” project may open perhaps related shops along the side of the building next door.
Mayor Gary Herzig was interviewed from Australia, where he is vacationing, to provide details that had not been available previously.
“We have $1.45 million in DRI incentive money for a developer to construct a public plaza and a mixed-use building over the top of the Westcott Lot,” said Herzig.
ONEONTA – Artspace believes that Oneonta would be an ideal location for a mixed-use, live/work spaces for artists, according to a report from the Minneapolis-based non-profit released today.
“The report speaks clearly,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “They found a lot of support and a real sense of need for this kind of construction.”
Collaborative workspace/maker space was the most-needed usage, the study found.
“Currently, participants primarily use their homes, garages, and basements for their creative work,” the report read. “A collaborative space in Oneonta would help artists transition from students to working artists, encourage collaboration, and provide an attainable entry point for individuals exploring a new medium.”
“We were able to gauge the temperature of the community as a whole, but more specifically the arts community, and found that the interest was perhaps stronger than expected,” according to the press release issued by City Hall today.
ONEONTA – If you call yourself an artist, you are welcome at Artspace.
“People think they have to have a fine arts degree to consider themselves an artist,” said Anna Growcott, Director, consulting and strategic partnerships for Artspace. “But we don’t feel that way. If you think you’re doing something creative, we agree.”
More than 50 citizens turned out for Artspace’s public forum this evening, concluding the first day of tours, focus groups and a performance by several local dance troupes. Earlier in the day, 31 artists shared their vision for the project, including community spaces, live/work studios and galleries.
ONEONTA – Whether they were painters, metalworkers, glassblowers or sculptors, many of the 31 gathered at the first Artspace focus group had one thing in common.
They were all using their own homes as their creative space.
“I do wood-burning at my dining room table,” said Anne Vrooman.
“I practice my dance and music in my living room,” said Elizabeth Raphaelson, owner of the Underground Attic.
“I’m trying to record music while the garbage trucks are driving around,” said James McIlroy.
Artspace, the Minneapolis-based not-for-profit, is in the city for three days, meeting with focus groups, touring sites and assessing whether or not one of their buildings – which offers low-cost live/work space for artists, community rooms and storefronts – would be a welcome addition to Oneonta’s downtown.
ONEONTA – Artspace, which is considering creating affordable spaces for artists and creative businesses in Center City, will be holding “stakeholder meetings: in Oneonta next week.
The visit, exploring the feasibility of a live-work building, including the Oneonta Ford site, will include a tour of the DRI area, meetings with local artists and businesspeople, and end with a community meeting preceded by performances of local dance groups, musicians and artists.