Thursday, November 14, 2019

Outer Space is Losing Its Space

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2019 at 11:33 AM

The Outer Space Collective announced today via Instagram that it will have to find a new home in a month's time. The 1110 M St. building where the organization has held performances, workshops and community meetings and events since 2017  has been sold, and members are in the process of hunting down a new location, starting with an "emergency planning meeting" on Friday at 7 p.m.

The post asks for support with the transition in the form of: "Having your classes and workshops, coming to our final shows, giving us a heads up on real estate options, and offering help with the move and storage space in the case of an interim time between spaces."

Collective member Lisken Rossi says the organization has known about the impending sale of the building for about a year but, “It was all taking so long, some of us were like, it’s been so long maybe the sale’s not actually going through.”

click to enlarge Ice Balloons at an Outer Space show in October of 2017. - FILE
  • File
  • Ice Balloons at an Outer Space show in October of 2017.

However, on Nov. 12, Nilsen Feed & Grain Co. sent a letter informing the Ink People (under whose sponsorship the collective operates) and Outer Space that the new owners, whom Nilsen says it is barred from naming, have “other plans for the property” and will not be leasing the space to current tenants. The company’s controller Drew Christianson signs off saying, “We are sad to see Outer Space go elsewhere, but we are assured you will find a new suitable location.” Contacted by phone, Christianson declined to comment on details of the sale.

Lisken says Outer Space Collective is scanning Craigslist but her hopes of moving into a new space by the moving date are dim. “No one’s going to find a place super quickly," she says. Aside from availability and reasonable rent, there are zoning and noise issues to consider, since the location would host regular music gigs. "I’m thinking it’s a long shot.”

Shows, says Lisken, are booked beyond the move date and the collective is looking for other potential venues with which it might work. Community groups using the space at low cost or no cost, including an AA group, support groups, an art therapy group and others will be affected, too. “We’ll keep letting people use the space as long as we’re in there but I guess they’ll also have to start looking,” she says.

“It really has been Arcata’s only true all-ages space for events” with no alcohol on the premises, says Lisken. “It’s nice to have places where it just isn’t an aspect of why people are there.” Bar venues are fine, she says, but in a college town and a drinking culture, “It’s important to have other alternatives to that for young people.”

Read the collective's full Instagram post below:
Dear Outer Space Friends, Patrons and Supporters,
We regret to inform you all that the building we are in has been sold and our lease has not be renewed, ending our operations at our current site of 1100 M Street, Arcata as of December 12, 2019. We hope you can join us in saying goodbye to the space by coming to one of the shows we have in this final month, including tonight when we will be joined by Jeffrey Lewis and the Voltage, Comfort Creature, and the Comix Trip.

We are taking steps to find a new site, discussions having begun within minutes of receiving our tenancy termination letter, and we will be having an emergency planning meeting this Friday at 7pm. Our members are passionate about bringing you a space to create magic in our community, and value your contribution to the spirit of Outer Space. That being said, any support you can give in our final month at our current location would make all the difference in how easy this transition is! Having your classes and workshops, coming to our final shows, giving us a heads up on real estate options, and offering help with the move and storage space in the case of an interim of time between spaces are a few types of support that we need.

We are looking forward to the positive changes this move will bring and hope you will carry on your workshops, shows, and art events in our eventual new home. Additionally we hope that a new location might breathe new life into our space, bringing more awareness of us to the public and perhaps widening access. Please reach out if you’re able to support us in any way, have any questions, and please let your friends know this is the last chance for the community to experience our current location and help support us during this time of transition.

Thank you,
Outer Space Arcata Collective
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Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Jennifer Fumiko Cahill is the arts and features editor of the North Coast Journal.

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