“Learn about the plan to become an artist-run nonprofit and create affordable housing.”
In an article published in DigBoston last November titled, “Boston Artists Fear Displacement. A Familiar Story, With A Potential Twist,” contributor Marie Ungar reported about efforts to save the artist studios located at 11-13 Humphreys St. in Uphams Corner, on the border of Dorchester and Roxbury.
“Building tenants are currently pursuing many different options, including finding investors, raising money, and seeking a buyer committed to preserving the building as an artists’ space,” Ungar wrote. “Kara Elliott-Ortega, the city’s Chief of Arts and Culture, has been working to help connect Todesco to possible investors or buyers—individuals and nonprofits. The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will also be hiring a consultant to help advise the artists on options to finance the purchase of the building and find potential development or management partners.”
As for that potential twist, a media release from the artists at Humphreys Street offers a glimpse at the current state of things. They will host a public meeting via Zoom this Wednesday, June 9 at 7pm with a mission to “support development without displacement and neighborhood place-keeping.” Info below …
[June 4, 2021 – Dorchester, MA] The forty-plus artists and creative small businesses making up Humphreys Street Studios in Uphams Corner will host an official community meeting on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at 7pm EST. The meeting is free and open to the public with registration.
The meeting’s focus is to inform the neighborhood and arts/culture community about the impending sale of their artist workspaces located at 11-13 Humphreys Street Studios, which have operated as affordable studio space for 20 years. Over the past year-plus, the artists have organized, become a tenant’s association, and have worked with the City of Boston and stakeholders to find an artist-friendly developer to purchase the property allowing the artist workspaces to remain affordable in perpetuity, as well as create affordable housing in the adjacent empty back lot of the property.
Humphreys Street Studios artists hang banners to spread the word about their #ARTWORKSHERE, #ARTSTAYSHERE campaign to turn their studio buildings into an artist-run nonprofit and affordable housing for Uphams Corner in Dorchester.
However, the property owners accepted a less-competitive offer from another buyer in April, despite a verbal agreement given to the artists stating that they had through April/May 2021 to provide a viable solution for purchasing the property. The artists have repeatedly requested meetings with the owners and potential buyer, without success.
In response, the artists have launched their #ARTWORKSHERE, #ARTSTAYSHERE campaign, asking for community support of their plan to preserve the studio spaces as affordable, in perpetuity, in the spirit of place-keeping, the active care and maintenance of a place and its social fabric by the people who live and work there. They have launched an online petition asking for neighbors and the arts/culture community to support their efforts: https://www.humphreysstreetstudio.com/
In addition to preserving the artist workspaces and creating affordable housing, the development partners plan to create a shared community space for meetings, lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and neighborhood events so that HSS may be more engaged with neighbors in Uphams Corner, Nubian Square, and beyond.
The HSS artist community includes painters, scenic designers, ceramicists, graphic designers, printers, fabricators, metalsmiths, sculptors, jewelry makers, furniture makers, photographers, videographers, and more, some who have been artist tenants for nearly 20 years. HSS artists will hold workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, and other events this summer, free of charge for the neighborhood.