By Cindy Hadish
CEDAR RAPIDS – Czech Village will lose its hub for local artists when the Artisan’s Sanctuary closes its doors in a few days.
The nonprofit group will make a move to Marion, said board president, Jim Jacobmeyer.
Jacobmeyer said the cost of rent for the building, at 45 16th Ave. SW — where the Artisan’s Sanctuary has been located for the past 2 1/2 years — was unsustainable for the organization, which relied primarily on donations and grants after it lost artists who had rented studio space.
The group’s mission is to provide a safe, secure and affordable studio space for artists to create and share inspiration.
Concerts, art exhibitions, poetry workshops and more took place inside and outside the venue since its inception. A current show of celebrity photos by George Henry, Sandy Dyas, Kim Reed, Linda McCartney and Harry Silver remained on the walls as of this week.
Jacobmeyer, who led the all-volunteer organization, said the final day in Czech Village will likely be Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. It’s new location will be 1070 Seventh Ave., next to Campbell Steele Gallery in Marion.
A benefit concert in November helped, but the group was still recovering from losses incurred when Czech Village shops evacuated in September 2016 as a precaution during flooding that rose to the second-highest level in the city’s history.
While berms and other flood protection methods kept the water at bay, the Artisan’s Sanctuary had to dismantle its stage and and move all recording equipment and other items to another site. As with other Czech Village and New Bohemia businesses, more losses accumulated as they waited to move back again.
Jacobmeyer said some of the artists who had been renting studio space moved out when the building’s roof leaked, even before the flood.
Steve Shriver, who bought the building about six months ago with business partner Ryan Sundermann, said the transaction between old and new owners was a lengthy process and the roof was repaired as soon as he took ownership
Shriver said he negotiated rent with Jacobmeyer, but the Artisan’s Sanctuary had been unable to pay the $2,500 monthly rent in recent months.
“I love the arts. I support them,” Shriver said, adding that as a businessman, he couldn’t afford to allow the group to stay rent-free.
Shriver said interest has been expressed with ideas such as a restaurant, antiques store, gym or activity center, but he has not entered into a lease with any new entities yet.
The 6,000-square-foot building opened around 1925 as the Kadlec Bros. dealership, specializing in Studebakers and, later, Toyotas. It housed a Salvation Army secondhand store for many years.
John Carl Berge — son of the late Czech Village Association president John Berge — purchased the building after the 2008 flood.
See more about the Artisan’s Sanctuary on its website.