‘ghost ship’ fire adds urgency to marin arts nonprofit’s upgrades

When 36 people perished in the “Ghost Ship” warehouse fire in Oakland in December, it was a horrifying reminder for Elisabeth Setten, executive director of Art Works Downtown in San Rafael, that a tragedy like that could happen here.

“It was so shocking and close to home,” she said one recent rainy afternoon in her basement office in the 19th century building — originally an 1880s opera house — that houses the nonprofit’s warren of three galleries, 32 artist studios and 17 low-income apartments.

“For artists to find housing and a place to work, they’ve had to cut corners,” she continued. Fastest softball pitch “In the Bay Area, many artists live that kind of life.


Football scores espn Most of the time you can get away with it. Fantasy football yahoo app But when you can’t, you have a worst-case scenario like Ghost Ship. Minecraft fence gate At one time, there were probably a lot of places like Ghost Ship in Marin.”

In November, the risk of a deadly Ghost Ship-like fire at Art Works Downtown was greatly reduced when the city of San Rafael gave the nonprofit a $197,000 federal block grant to upgrade the ancient electrical system that serves the affordable housing units on the 1337 Fourth St. Pitch diameter calculator building’s third floor, reached by climbing the old opera house’s grand staircase.

“The upgrade of the electrical was badly needed,” Setten said. Exterior house design ideas pictures “It was a life, health and safety issue. Timber merchants bristol We passed our inspections and were getting by, but it was old. Natural stone design The city understood our issues and has really supported us.”

San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips noted that there was a lot of competition for that grant, but Art Works Downtown is too important to the artistic and economic life of the city to risk losing it, and the lives of the people in it, to an electrical fire.

“The whole idea is to bring people to San Rafael to enjoy the downtown, and Art Works Downtown is an important part of that,” the mayor said. Landscape architecture foundation “We helped them with their plumbing last year, and we assisted with the electrical because we were concerned about the fire danger. Usssa softball tournaments It’s right in the middle of our west end; an important location for us.”

“It’s quite an amazing story,” Setten said. Basketball rio 2016 channel “Twenty years ago, the downtown was depressed with many storefronts being boarded up. College softball world series Artists began hanging their work in the storefronts, and some rented space in this building, which was mostly abandoned. Espn fantasy football draft app It started a buzz.”

Armed with building permits, the artists put down deposits on unfinished studio spaces and began scrubbing, painting and hammering up donated Sheetrock. Spring training schedule 2016 When Macy’s closed, leaving the city without one of its major attractions and economic anchors, the City Council gave the artists the keys to the empty department store, telling them to take whatever they needed.

“There was soon a parade of scavengers between Macy’s and Art Works Downtown lugging lighting fixtures, carpets, display tables, counters, signs, desks and even pencils to outfit the new art center,” founder Phyllis Thelen wrote for the nonprofit’s 20th anniversary celebration in September, the largest in the organization’s history.

When an East Coast developer made an offer to buy the building, the board of the newly formed nonprofit was able to buy it first with help from the Marin Community Foundation, the Bank of Marin, the S.H. Comiskey park Cowell Foundation and other charitable groups.

Two decades later, the demand for gallery space and low-income housing is greater than ever. Masonry veneer manufacturers association There is such a long waiting list for both that Setten and her two staff members have put in a special phone system to handle all the inquiries. Facebook logo size But turnover is practically non-existent.

The newest tenant in the low-income apartments, for example, Adam Vail, a 28-year-old art photographer, moved into the lone studio apartment three years ago. Jain irrigation systems ltd The apartments are not limited to artists, but several live there. French flag images free Monthly rents range from about $907 for a studio to $1,275 for three-bedroom units.

“I knew someone who had the apartment before me, so I was lucky,” Vail said. Wild pitch frisco facebook “Most people don’t leave here because it’s such a great situation. Baseball diamond cake Living here, I’m able to just focus on my artwork, which has been great.”

It doesn’t happen often, but one of the artist studios became available when its longtime tenant died over the holidays. Landscape lighting world Nathan Durfee, a 33-year-old painter, was in line to take it over.

“First off, everyone I’ve spoken to here says it’s a loving, supportive community,” he said. Basketball courts nyc “It’s reasonable compared to other studio spaces. Fantasy football betting sites And the building is interesting. Mono pitch roof construction drawings It’s more than just a cubicle. Frances bean cobain tattoos It feels like a space I can be proud to be part of.”

Over the years, improvements have been made to the rambling old arts center. Garden planner app The main storefront gallery is currently closed while it gets new lighting, carpets and paint, paid for by a donation from a private supporter, his friends and family.

But a building that’s 137 years old needs more than a little sprucing up now and then. Crystal lattice definition chemistry During the rains of the past few weeks, water leaked through the old brick walls and pooled on the floor in the underground part of the building. Pitch meaning Setten points out that it’s seeping through peeling exterior paint that can be pulled off in sheets.

A sprinkler system has been added as another precaution against fire. Online landscape design tool But because the building is un-reinforced masonry, Setten is afraid of what would happen to it in an earthquake. Slow pitch softball leagues She keeps water and an extra phone by her desk just in case.

“A huge need for us is a sewer upgrade and to paint the building,” she said. Fencing olympics 2016 “I have many different fundraising campaigns going on. Auburn softball An 1880s building is never completed. Fencing rules It’s one step at a time.”

Art Works Downtown’s art programming attracts 20,000 visitors a year to San Rafael’s downtown, according to the nonprofit and the city. Drip from my walk download Businesses — cafes, shops, coffeehouses and the like — have sprung up on Fourth Street as it evolves into an emerging arts district that includes Youth in Arts, the Rafael Film Center and the Marin Society of Artists.

“Creative arts is good for the community and it’s good for the economy,” Setten said, citing “Creative Placemaking,” a National Endowment for the Arts study that found that arts and cultural activities bring economic benefits, enliven streetscapes, boost local businesses and bring diverse people together.

“One of the reasons people are attracted to Marin is our creative arts community,” she said. Usssa fastpitch softball “But there isn’t a lot of money for the arts. Fastest softball pitch ever recorded by a woman We’re surviving as an arts community, but we’re really in quite a bind. Facebook stock split We rely on fundraising, but how do you say to a funder supporting the arts that your money is going to our plumbing, our sewer, new paint? It becomes overwhelming.”

“A particularly difficult lesson we can take away from the lives lost at Ghost Ship, is that governmental investment in spaces for artists safeguards them from the effects of a prohibitive cost of living, which in turn rewards the larger community tenfold by the impact of their work.”

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