Today’s Courant informs readers of how legal details are creating financial problems for ArtSpace Norwich, a mixed use building that includes a built-in artist community. It’s true that if a place receives public funding, they can not discriminate regarding who they rent to. But, as the article notes, most residents are not even full-time artists.
What is not included in this discussion is what is happening to ArtSpace Hartford.
While Hartford is in the throes of “urban renewal” bliss, the effects are showing in scattered parts of the city. Last month there was some press about how Asylum Hill residents are being pressured to move out, to make room for a wealthier clientele. Over the past year or so, ArtSpace Hartford has been raising the rents at an unreasonable pace and often at unaffordable increments. A few years ago, before a change in management, the ArtSpace website listed the rental prices and even provided a calculator to determine what a person’s rent might be based on his/her income. The space is supposed to allot a certain number of units for lower income people.
Since the change in management, the website has also been changed to be more eye-catching, but less informative. Residents are being evicted on false charges. Fewer artists are making ArtSpace their home, opting to leave despite the in-building art gallery and community space. In recent months, artists have been replaced by the young urban professional crowd, one unit at a time.
Down in the Sheldon-Charter Oak area, the Colt factory is being remodeled into luxury apartments called the Colt Gateway. For developers to have an empty canvas–relatively speaking–to work from, they had to evict all of the artists who kept studios there when living in an old factory building with busted out windows was the norm.
There used to be talk of creating an art district in Hartford. More and more, it seems like it was only talk.