Monday, April 30, 2012

Scrapping the artists

Here's the story: There's a 1.6-acre property adjacent to the National Institutes of Health Open Space in Bethesda. The initial proposal by developer Patrinely Group of Houston, Texas included 25 percent "moderately priced dwelling units and about 2,000 square feet within the main building for an arts incubator, which would have offered studio and exhibit space for emerging artists." That all went away when the condo market collapsed in Bethesda and now StonebridgeCarras, which purchased the site about a year ago, has a new proposal:
The vacant Trillium lot could be home to 360 luxury appartments and a grocery, if plans are approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday.
And first thing to go in the StonebridgeCarras proposal: The arts incubator.

How does the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce feel about that?
 “We really support that,” said Ginanne Italiano, executive director of the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce. “It’s not the whole concept that the other organization had, but I think this is going to be an even better concept.”
Yeah Ginanne, another grocery store is an even better concept than an arts incubator. After all, there are only about a dozen or more grocery stores in Bethesda and ahhh... zero affordable space for artists and nothing even remotely close to an arts incubator, and most Bethesda area art galleries have closed in the last couple of years; thank you for your moral support.

Good move StonebridgeCarras (nice artsy name!) and let DC Art News be the first to welcome to Bethesda, yet another Safeway, or yet another Giant, or considering the artsy name of the developer, perhaps another Whole Foods.

Makes my head hurt.

Read the Gazette story by Jessica Ablamsky here and read the developer's news release here.

Around Town

That busload of San Francisco art collectors visiting the DMV is out and about town today. They started with a pep talk this morning (at the home of a most gracious Chevy Chase art collector) and then headed out to the District to visit art studios, artists' homes and galleries.

They were last seen visiting Flux, Red Dirt and the WGS and all of those artists' studios in that area.