Noise An Arts Blog

Mayor signs executive order to avert the shuttering of arts spaces

Mayor Catherine Pugh signed an executive order yesterday that allows artist spaces with code violations to remain open so long as a plan approved by fire and building inspectors is in place to make repairs and the "conditions do not represent an imminent threat to life or safety."

The order also seems to address some of the concerns regarding the Bell Foundry eviction, saying any tenant removed permanently or temporarily will be informed of their rights under city and state law. Artists evicted from the Bell said they received little notice of their eviction, were not given ample time to collect their belongings, and were not provided with alternative housing from the city.

"City Officials will work in the spirit of cooperation with property owners and tenants to correct code violations," the order says.

Pugh formed the Mayor's Safe Arts Space Task Force last December in the aftermath of the eviction of the Bell Foundry

The task force began holding meetings in January, and it has faced challenges in gaining trust from the arts community and delineating the problems facing DIY art spaces and, more generally, the resources dedicated to affordable housing in the city.

One suggestion put forth by the task force was that Pugh follow the footsteps of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff, who, in the wake of the Ghost Ship fire that killed 36, signed an executive order much protecting tenants in unpermitted spaces. 

Now Pugh has done the same.

The task force has three remaining meetings on its schedule, after which it will release a report with its findings to the mayor.

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