BAUhouse, losing rent-free home, plans to take things space to space

January 20, 1993|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Art Critic

The BAUhouse, a multidisciplinary arts space that opened three years ago, will be leaving its 1713 N. Charles St. location on March 3 with no new home in prospect at the moment.

Pat Creswell, president and executive director of the organization, emphasized in announcing the move yesterday that the BAUhouse is not permanently closing. She and board chairman Jim Opasik said the board recently voted to continue the organization, and there are plans to present performances and exhibitions in temporary spaces until a permanent home can be found.

The BAUhouse had leased its home from Bowling Inc., whose vice president, Alan Shecter, conceived of the idea of putting an arts organization in the space and who had been allowing the BAUhouse to occupy it rent-free. "We paid the utilities, heat and general maintenance," Mr. Opasik said yesterday. "It was most gracious of him."

The BAUhouse had a budget last year of about $48,000 plus in-kind contributions. "It should be $90,000 to $100,000," said Ms. Creswell.

Mr. Shecter said that after the Maryland State Library for the Blind recently moved out of nearby space also owned by Bowling, "we just couldn't continue to give the [BAUhouse] space away. We are discussing an art gallery and cafe with another party that we think will be able to pay some rent because they're going to introduce food."

The new tenants hope to occupy the space this spring, he said.

Mr. Opasik said the BAUhouse would have liked to have more time to look for a new home. "But looking at it from his [Mr. Shecter's] point of view, I understand where he's coming from if he has a paying tenant . . . You can only take a loss for so long."

Ms. Creswell said the BAUhouse has plans for an art show in May at a Eutaw Place site and a jazz concert in May at the Baltimore Museum of Art. There are other plans as well, she said, "but nothing that's firm enough to tell you about right now."

In its three years, the BAUhouse has mounted 18 art exhibits, showing, by Ms. Creswell's estimate, between 500 and 600 artists. But art is only one aspect of its activities. It has presented 352 performances including music, theater, dance and prose and poetry readings. The last art exhibit at the current location opened last weekend, a theme show called "Intimacy of Fear."

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