In all the handwringing over one Williamsburg performance space closure after another, it was east to forget about another expensive neighborhood that used to be an artist’s haven, namely DUMBO. Surely things are going just fine over there though? Nope! The Galapagos Art Space, home to burlesque, cabaret, readings, screenings and other art events, is closing up shop and moving to Detroit. At this rate, by 2016, the only venue left in Brooklyn is gonna be the Barclays Center.
The New York Times had the story of Galapagos calling it quits in Kings County, with ownership blaming the fact that New York City is too expensive for young artists and the ones that Galapagos had featured are leaving the city. Since one of those places that those artists are moving to is Detroit, Galapagos’ executive director Robert Emes told the paper that he bought 600,000 square-feet of property in nine buildings in Detroit, for what he compared to the price of “a small apartment” around here.
On the Galapagos website, the Elmes put up a message starkly laying out their belief on why young artists, and the venue as well, are leaving New York. “You can’t paint at night in your kitchen and hope to be a good artist. It doesn’t work that way,” the message reads, before going on to say that New York no longer provides the time, space and people that young artists need. According to Elmes though, Detroit has the combination an arts scene needs to flourish, so he’s betting that Detroit can be the “national mixing chamber” that New York City once was in his eyes.
It’s a shame, since it feels like yesterday that Galapagos rebuilt after being destroyed by Sandy, but it just reinforces the point that nothing in permanent in New York City. And while we’re losing yet another performance venue that supported hard working young artists, at least Brooklyn can console itself with the knowledge that now we have another space on which to quickly put up a hotel and convince the DNC to pick us for their 2016 convention.