Ken's Letter to the Gazette

Hi, 

In early 2014, Rebeca Oliveira wrote an article about my underground performance space in JP ( http://jamaicaplaingazette.com/2014/02/28/performance-space-welcomes-unusual-acts/ ). I would like to contact her about the possibility of writing a new story that's related to the space but was unable to find a direct email for her. Perhaps you could pass this on to her or another reporter that may be interested?

The space that she wrote about is in a building (128 Brookside Ave) that is currently zoned for light industrial and is 100% occupied by artists and creative professionals using it for work space. I have come to understand that this is one of the, if not THE, last affordable artists' studio buildings in Jamaica Plain. The building next door to us (120-124), also home to artists studios and small businesses, was recently sold and is slated for demolition in early 2018 to make way for luxury condos - without any affordable work or living space. I have also understood that the parking lots across the street from us have been sold and will be home to luxury condos before too long. It is no giant leap of imagination to see that 128 Brookside Ave will be (if not already) the target of developers soon. 

It is very very important, not just to myself or other occupants of the building, but also to the creative heart of JP itself that this last haven of affordable studio space not fall to the rising threat of gentrification. It is the art and music and performances that come out of places like 128 Brookside Ave. that contribute so much to the vibrancy, uniqueness and desirablility of living in JP in the first place. To push the artists out of JP would be akin to developing the Arboretum into condos. 

As long as our building stays zoned for light industrial, we believe we are safe - at least from development into luxury condos. But we have witnessed variances and zoning changes being handed out to developers, seemingly without discretion. We at 128 Brookside Ave., speaking in the ultimate interest of the entire community we believe, would love some help in telling our story and spreading the message of how important affordable artist space is in JP - for EVERYONE, including affluent newcomers who are (no doubt unintentionally) feeding the threat of development. We believe that wider awareness of the situation in the community will absolutely make a difference. 

I am not writing this letter to be published, but I would very much appreciate consideration of this topic by one of your reporters. I thought of Rebeca because she has had previous contact with at least some of what goes on at 128 Brookside Ave., and recognized the value in it.

Very Best Regards, 

Ken Michaels