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  • #32762
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Hamilton Arts Collective may be looking for new home

    The Hamilton Arts Collective, a two-year-old gathering place for Northeast Baltimore artists and arts lovers, has been forced to shut its doors after city fire inspectors declared its Harford Road headquarters unsafe for public gatherings.

    “We are in somewhat of a holding pattern,” said Steve Thomas, the group’s managing director. “One of the main things that we need to determine is whether or not the building is suitable for us even to start doing renovations.”

    The key, Thomas said, will be the cost of updating the 80-year-old building’s fire escape to meet code requirements. The collective operates out of the second and third floors of a commercial building at 5440 Harford Road.

    Thomas said there have been indications the cost could reach into six figures, a sum he said is “way out of [the] price range” of the nonprofit organization’s budget. The group hopes to bring in an architect or engineer soon, to come up with an estimate.

    If the cost is prohibitive, Thomas said, the group may have to look for other space in the area. That could prove difficult, however, since the city only recently changed the building’s zoning so that it could be used for assemblies, and may not be willing to designate a second building in the same area for such purposes.

    “There’s no way that we want to give up on this at all,” said Thomas, refusing to assign blame for the group’s situation on any of the city’s regulatory agencies, which he said are “simply trying to keep people safe.”

    “We’re going through the school of hard knocks, that’s for sure,” Thomas says. “The folks who are the board members, this is the first time we’ve ever tried to do something like this in our lives. We just wanted to have some shows and display art.”

    The building, which has been used as a meeting hall, photographer’s studio and live theater in previous incarnations, houses a pizza restaurant on the first floor. It has not been affected, Thomas said.

    ///

    Visit the Baltimore Sun’s Critical Mass blog:
    http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/critics/blog/

    Thanks to Chris Kaltenbach of the Baltimore Sun for posting news about our situation.

    #54908
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    uh huh, that fire escape looked fine to me last time I was there. Granted if there’s a fire on the stairwell it’d be a bit crowded getting down the escape. How many buildings in your area don’t meet the codes? So what developer wants to use your building or land?

    – mule

    #54909
    BeyondThePale
    Member
    • Markshire PCs:

    Summanabeechio!

    Things sounded like they were on the upswing for a while there SMR. By all means keep us posted regarding what happens.

    #54910
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    yeah, i’ll be a citizen of Maryland soon, hopefully, so i’ll have some voting power… of course that won’t mean much in Baltimore. But I am interested in what happens here.

    – mule

    #54911
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    @mule wrote:

    How many buildings in your area don’t meet the codes?

    Oh, I’d guess about 60% or more (I’d say more than that for residences). We’re just willingly calling attention to ourselves before it is thrust upon us against our will, so to speak, which makes us the slow moving target du jour.

    In Baltimore city, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to summon inspectors to properties for approval; this would have the net effect of gradually maintaining the building’s code status on par with that of evolving fire codes. That probably hasn’t happened in our specific building for over half a century.

    @mule wrote:

    So what developer wants to use your building or land?

    That’s not a likely motive. Our neighbourhood’s a fairly distressed one. There’s really no incentive for speculators, particularly in this economic climate. We’re way too far outside metro Baltimore to matter much. Besides, it would be easier for them to go after some of those storefront churches first.

    Our landlord has worked very well with us, and for many years; it was not his doing. Plus, who else would be find to rent out the second and third floors of an office building with no lift in it?

    #54912
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    So is the landlord gonna help with the renovations? It is his building after all.

    – mule

    #54913
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Well, let’s see…

    The big one–the fire escape–was approved. All that was recommended was some sanding and re-painting. No problem.

    The other renovations required…These include the installation of a bathroom on the second floor (the plumbing is there already, just need the “business ends” of the pipes), hard-wired heat- and smoke-detectors, and a few other things. Estimate is well over $25,000.

    Time for fundraisers. 😉

    #54914
    domf
    Member
    • Markshire PCs:

    sounds like something you could probly figure out on your own if you wanted to…bathrooms are fairly easy to install if you have to right book to look off of…and smoke detecters and stuff are pretty easy too…

    might look into doing it yourself for about a quarter of the price.

    #54915
    Thrym
    Keymaster
    • Markshire PCs: Grottle, Gruzk, Ashimar

    @s-m-r wrote:

    Well, let’s see…

    The big one–the fire escape–was approved. All that was recommended was some sanding and re-painting. No problem.

    The other renovations required…These include the installation of a bathroom on the second floor (the plumbing is there already, just need the “business ends” of the pipes), hard-wired heat- and smoke-detectors, and a few other things. Estimate is well over $25,000.

    Time for fundraisers. 😉

    Alright folks … time to step up and support our Horseheaded DM.

    If you want to donate to SMR’s organization, Markshire will accept donations on behalf of him through our donation page.

    If you still want a Map (assuming you haven’t gotten one before) let me know through PM, IM or e-mail after you make your donation.

    I’m in for $25.

    Let’s make some noise down in Baltimore!!

    #54916
    BeyondThePale
    Member
    • Markshire PCs:

    I’ll hit that donate.

    Also, if you organize a labor party at any time, I’m down for the road trip as well. I will have a comprehensive list of demands if I do come down to help…

    * I’ll need a bar within walking distance or someone to ferry me to one.

    Yeah, that should do it.

    Keep us abreast of things.

    #54917
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    You folks are fantastic. 🙂

    And yeah, Domf, we’re going to have (yet another) meeting this coming Monday to determine which work we’ll leave to the contractor, and the work we’ll do ourselves. The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), Hamilton Business Association (our local business organisation) and the Baltimore Development Corporation (city advocates for neighbourhood renovations…not exactly what that means, really) have all contacted us to inform about their various assistance/grant programs.

    Man, if I knew back when I started this thing that it would turn into such a hassle, I would have stayed with just acting. 😉

    But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, definitely. And support like what you all have shown here truly is wonderful (AND helpful). Thanks, folks!

    EDIT: I figured that those of you who don’t know about it might want to know of the arts collective I run. It’s called the Hamilton Arts Collective; we’ve been in operation almost two years, and we have three goals:
    –offer a safe, comfortable performance space for artists to present their works when they normally would not have a venue;
    –empower the neighbourhood of Hamilton, a northeastern suburb of Baltimore City; and
    –Keep our events affordable and accessible to as many people as possible, both artists and guests.

    We hosted over 600 different acts last year alone (bands, theatre troupes, films, and other performances), and were on track to significantly increase that number for the 07-08 season. You can see our past calendar and other information about the HAC at the following website:

    http://www.hamiltonarts.org

    #54918
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    I’m down to help out too, just let me know when and where. I also can give you some money next time I see ya. Btw, i’m pissed I missed that last DMFS show, had some confusion as to what day it was on.. dangit.

    BTP, i’ll garauntee there’s a bar nearby or a shuttle if you come down to help out.

    – mule

    #54919
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Yeah it was a pretty awesome show earlier this month; our bassist graduated college last semester, so it was his farewell gig. He had a nice send-off, including a “two-rack salute” during one of our rock anthems. 😀 We’re playing down in Ocean City, MD, this coming Saturday.

    But enough about the band in this thread…the HAC is busy begging for money!

    I’m currently scouting out venues (and casting feelers out to some bands) to host a music benefit for the HAC to take place on Sunday, 17th February. Let me know if you can make it into town for that, and you’re welcome to crash at the house where I live.

    #54920
    BeyondThePale
    Member
    • Markshire PCs:

    Check your collective e-mail SMR. I sent you an e-mail with some other ideas as well.

    #54921
    Thrym
    Keymaster
    • Markshire PCs: Grottle, Gruzk, Ashimar

    *pokes*

    *picks up PayPal piggybank*

    *rattles it*

    Bummer. Not a single donation. 🙁

    I’ve failed you SMR.

    I’ll send you mine at least.

    😥

    #54922
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Hey man, it’s okay. We’re only one screamingly poor arts collective amongst hundreds (if not thousands) in the US and beyond. Plus, we’re in Baltimore and I don’t think anyone else here is.

    My hope is that people contribute to the small arts organizations where they live. Thanks for your efforts here anyway, Thrym! 😀

    #54923
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    *smacks forehead* I meant to help you out in person… but I forgot at your last gig… doh!

    – mule

    #54924
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Dude, I probably forgot a lot about the last gig.

    Except for the part when I may or may not have left a gift for the club manager. 😉

    #54925
    domf
    Member
    • Markshire PCs:

    Is there an address where we might be able to send a check to?

    I do believe that donations to Art Centers are deductible…

    #54926
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    the word, “micturate” comes to mind for some reason…

    – mule

    #54927
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    @domf wrote:

    Is there an address where we might be able to send a check to?

    I do believe that donations to Art Centers are deductible…

    How right you are, sir. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and as such, all donations are tax-deductible. All donors will receive a thank-you card upon receipt of donation, but any donations in excess of $100 guarantee a letter detailing the specific amount of donation, which is required by law for the write-off.

    Donations should be made out to “The Hamilton Arts Collective,” and sent to the following address:

    The Hamilton Arts Collective
    5440 Harford Road, Third Floor
    Baltimore, MD 21214
    attn: Stephen B. Thomas

    Please be sure to include your return address, so we can acknowledge receipt of your donation.

    🙂

    #54928
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    @mule wrote:

    the word, “micturate” comes to mind for some reason…
    – mule

    Thanks for blocking the sound guy’s view of the situation for me, by the way. 😉

    #54929
    mule
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    it’s one of many uses for a trench coat

    – mule

    #54930
    domf
    Member
    • Markshire PCs:

    does that mean $100 and greater?…or over $100…like $101

    does that make sense?

    #54931
    s-m-r
    Moderator
    • Markshire PCs:

    Here’s my understanding…to write it off on your taxes, any donation over $100 needs to have a letter of authentication in return. You then send a copy of this letter in with your tax return, and it’s recognized as a donation in your taxes. In certain cases, it’s confirmed with the agency to whom you donated your hard-earned money.

    We send out a thank-you card at the very least for every donation made. With a sizeable donation (anything over $100), in addition to that you’ll receive a letter on our letterhead with a statement of the amount.

    I’m not much of an accountant, but again, to my knowledge, that’s how it works. I leave these kinds of details to the other board members, to be honest. But rest assured that the donations will be responded to appropriately.

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