Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. and Annex Theater are partnering to transform 1 W North Avenue, formerly New York Fried Chicken and White Tower Restaurant, into flexible office, theater & gallery space. We’ve applied for grants, have a little bit of our own cash, and some sweat equity to get this project started, but we need your help to finish the work.
THE PROJECT: Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc., the nonprofit organization responsible for supporting and promoting Station North's artists, businesses, and residents, is going street level. We’ve negotiated a lease for the first floor commercial space at 1 W North Avenue, formerly a New York Fried Chicken Restaurant, adjacent to the historic Parkway Theatre at the corner of North Avenue and N Charles Street. Plans for redeveloping the Parkway are in the works, but in the interim we want to activate this long vacant corner at the busiest intersection in Station North.
We work hard to provide the Station North and greater Baltimore communities with amazing professional and recreational opportunities, while working with our many neighborhood partners to ensure that art remains at the core of this neighborhood. Just over the past year, we’ve accomplished the following:
- Expanded Artscape an additional block north to North Avenue; added a Station North stage featuring local music and brought the “art” back to Artscape in Station North.
- Ran Open Walls Baltimore, which features 29 murals by world-class local and international artists.
- Programmed FREE monthly Final Friday events, including Dan Deacon’s outdoor performance in Greenmount West, Whoop Dee Doo’s performances at City Arts, Scapescape, Slideluck Potshow at Area 405, Station North’s 10 year anniversary party with Governor O’Malley and John Waters, and many more.
- Provided tens of thousands of dollars in “Think Big” funding awards to local artists and venues to support superlative projects in Station North.
- Produced the first National Symposium on Arts/Cultural/Entertainment Districts.
- Supported our partners in organizing a Station North Home Ownership Club, free legal services for artists, and free business advice for artists and designers.
- Promoted hundreds of local artists on WYPR, on our website, in our weekly email, and on Facebook and Twitter.
Donating to this Kickstarter is your chance to give back to the organization that facilitated these opportunities, ensuring that we can become even more effective in supporting the growth of Station North.
And don’t forget about the Annex Theater Company! We’ve partnered with the Annex Theater to transform 1 W North Ave: we’ll have our offices in the back (where the walk-in freezer is currently located), and the Annex will run their full season in the front space. This is our opportunity to bring this talented company back home to Station North.
The Baltimore Annex Theater is known for its experimental and community-based productions, such as Threepenny Opera and Salome, with many of its performances presented in underground warehouse spaces. Now it has its very own chance at being a part of this intentionally above-ground, loud and proud Arts & Entertainment District. The Annex Theater’s new season includes the following:
- UBIK adapted by the company from the novel by Phillip K Dick, Dec. 6-30
- Equus by Peter Schaeffer, Jan. 31 - Feb. 24
- The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare, May 16 - Jun. 9
- Argonne by Kaitlin Murphy and Evan Moritz, Jun. 27 - Jul. 14
- 10 Minute Play Festival August 2013
When the Annex isn’t performing, the front space will be used as a gallery space for exhibitions, events, and anything else the Station North community can dream up. Getting 1 W North Ave up and running will introduce some much needed new space for art in the District and link activity between North Avenue and N Charles Street. This is the precise geographic center of Baltimore City, and we’re excited to be part of the process of reinvigorating it.
Risks and challenges
The challenges associated with this renovation project are characteristic of remodeling a former restaurant and historic building. The $10,000 we’re raising will go towards:
Finishing Demolition- As a former New York Fried Chicken takeout restaurant, the space is still full of old restaurant equipment that needs to be professionally removed, including a (broken) walk-in freezer and an industrial-grade ventilation hood.
Building an ADA Compliant Bathroom- In order to obtain a Use and Occupancy permit, we need to build an accessible bathroom in the space.
Capping Plumbing- You know that deep fried food odor wafting out of active fast food restaurants? Well, it’s still wafting out of the dormant grease traps in the basement, but not for long.
Fixing the Electrical System- We’ll need to rewire the space to safely power and light the theater, gallery, and office space, so that we can use working computers and you don’t have to watch performances in the dark.
Building New Walls- All the better for hanging things on!
Cleaning and Painting the Floor- Having served as a fast food restaurant for a half century, the floor is expectedly in need of some serious cleaning.
We’re committed to using local contractors for all of the work described above.
While we anticipate using all funds to renovate the space, should we end up with any excess funds, we will use them to cover our operational expenses in the new space.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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