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Northeastern, black artists at odds over studio space Northeastern owns and wants to clear out

WBUR reports, quotes a Northeastern official who told the reporter to stop listening to lying liars, so you can tell things are going well.

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There's a real dearth of artist's housing and workspace here in Boston. The fact that Northeastern University is trying to drive the black artists out of there is wrong.

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On what planet?

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There's a real dearth of artists' housing/studios, and people should not have to live in constant fear of being evicted from them for no good reason, and not having anything in the future, or having to move to a far away, isolated place.

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I think 99% of art is rubbish and have exactly zero concerns or qualms or compunctions about people who produce said rubbish being subject to the same rules of real estate that I am.

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Um. Did you read actually read the links, or did you just snowflake all over your beer gut, then napped ten minutes before erupting in orgasmic outrage about something else you don't fully understand?

One of the points NEU leadership made is that "housing" is an excluded use on this site, a condition that NEU administrators allegedly suspect, and perhaps discovered (along with a host of other illegal physical modifications that would preclude satisfactory inspection by ISD or BFD, thanks to the erection of partitions and other physical/space modifications made by the collective).

People should not be worried about being evicted from unsafe, illegally-modified, spaces, because it's frankly in their best interest to not life in unsafe, illegally-modified, spaces. I mean, how dense does one have to be to not get that?!

There may "be a dearth" of artist spaces, but artists and anon commenters on the interweb defending a "right" to live in fire-trap shit-holes at the expense of those same artist's life safety, frankly, is just fucking stupid.

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People should not be worried about being evicted from unsafe, illegally-modified, spaces, because it's frankly in their best interest to not life in unsafe, illegally-modified, spaces. I mean, how dense does one have to be to not get that?!

Easy for you to say, but I think most people would rather have access to a *potentially* unsafe space than no space at all. But to me that's kind of a moot point. This space is Northeastern's responsibility. If Northeastern is interested in keeping the AAMARP program alive (which is questionable at this point) then it is their responsibility to bring the space up to code. Simply kicking the residency program out of their space without providing an alternative space is a peculiar solution indeed.

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By making sure the building is not violating codes and is being used as intended.

Would you work or live in a place that is *potentially* unsafe?

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Northeastern is taking responsibility for the space

Yes, in the most hostile way imaginable. They are "fixing the problem" by discontinuing the use of the space. Akin to a landlord that "fixes" the plumbing by evicting the tenants.

Would you work or live in a place that is *potentially* unsafe?

Absolutely yes if it were my only option for employment. This is why we have OSHA in the first place: Most people do not have the option of just quitting their job because they don't like the working conditions.

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If Boston's ISD or OSHA shut this place down, you'd be okay with it, but when the landlord does it, you're not?

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No. I'm simply saying I don't blame the artists for preferring a hazardous building to no building at all. I think the code violations need to be rectified and I think NEU should take responsibility for doing it.

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You're blaming the landlord for wanting to rectify the hazardous conditions.

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I’m not. I’m blaming them for their method of going about it.

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Let's have a conversation about how things work in the real world for a moment: If that building catches on fire right now, with people living in it illegally, against code, and god forbid people die, and Northeastern knew about it and did nothing to get the people out or bring it up to code, they'd be totally fucked. The family of every person living there illegally would immediately sue the university for maintaining a property that was not up to code, and the university's insurance would not cover them because it is not only illegal, but grossly negligent to allow people to live in a building that is specifically excluded from being living space.

So while your love of artists is...interesting...law and legal precedent say that the University is obligated to throw those people out. Period.

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So while your love of artists is...interesting...law and legal precedent say that the University is obligated to throw those people out. Period.

No, the university is obligated to address the code violations. Evicting the artists is one way to do this but it is not the only way.

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This is a zoned commercial space that specifically excludes people from living in it. It's not the University's responsibility to get the zoning of the building changed because these people have decided to break the law by squatting in the building.

Just so you're aware, a residential building has totally different code requirements than a commercial one. For example, accessibility to the entirety of the building must be addressed, meaning the university would need to install or upgrade elevators and handicap ramps. There are fire protection requirements. Size requirements for units. All units would need to have kitchens and bathrooms installed. Etc. Why should the University deal with that? They certainly aren't obligated to.

You're unreasonable. I'm sure I'm not the first person who's told you that.

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I'm definitely not defending the artists living in the building. I'm just suggesting that there are other ways of dealing with this problem besides evicting AMRAP from the space (for example, firing the director).

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Although its a sad situation, Northeastern is following a common practice. Tufts did the same thing a few years ago with a nearby artist space in Medford. Now has Northeastern been a good neighbor to Roxbury? Mmmm. Instead of say a shared athletic complex with Madison Park that benefits both sides, NEU's fields-facilities are in Brookline. The ugly side of NEU goes beyond an artist space

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the parade of successful artists, comedians, musicians, actors and actresses, writers, producers, and other creatives from Boston will not, and will not ever, step up to buy a building to rent out art space in the Boston area and give back to the community that spawned them.
Just bolt for LA or NYC and never look back. Good times.

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There is a real dearth of affordable housing here in Boston. Why should artists, of any skin tone and/or color, be immune to the effects of gentrification?

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Would’ve you bothered to add that to the title? Would’ve you bothered to write this post at all?

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Adam can defend himself but this is the sort of story that would run regardless of race. And since this space is specifically for black artists, the race aspect is relevant.

Try reading the article before being outraged. I know, that's not as fun.

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African-American Master Artists-in-Residence Program,

So, yes.

(Also, Adam has written about the EMF Building artists in Cambridge in the recent past.)

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Where are the EMF protesters on this one?

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Not quite sure why you would think there was a question about that.

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was very vocal about their space being vacated for similar reasons taking up arms over this in public or on social media. So I don't "expect" anything until I see it.

The cause is the same,is it not?

Or am I wrong?

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I didn't look to see who made the comment, and foolishly assumed it was a sincere question, and not just trolling, as per usual.

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Don't meet your idea of what I should be commenting about on this subject.

Have a nice day.

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salted licorice

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Would you have read it? Would you have commented? Would you have something to comment other than being offended for some reason by this headline?

OK, good talk.

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Source:BUR, Boston University Radio. Coincidence? I think not!

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Better watch your back!

Um, no, WBUR is not the BU state media, even if it is housed in a BU building.

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Based on the Beanpot results this year?

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Reading between the lines, it sounds like the artists that got "locked out" didn't want to show ID to get their new keys and access cards. That explanation could be compatible with everyone's accounts. Anyone know what actually happened? The reporter doesn't seem to have tried very hard to figure it out.

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I hate to see NEU, my alma mater, treat the African American artist community, which is in my neighborhood, in this manner. It is a fascinating space, that I have toured during Open Studios.
I am ashamed of Michael Armini and Maria Cimiliuca's responses representing NEU. I would have expected them to handle the safety issues with more class and grace.

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Evicting the African-American artists for no good reason is completely and totally unjust, particularly because it's been especially tough for African-American artists to find artists' housing/studio space here in Boston.

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NU may build taller and denser here. Of course, they'd have to kick everyone out, prior to redeveloping it, right?

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This parcel was zoned Local Industrial before JPROX and it stayed Local Industrial under JPROX (with the specific stated intention of keeping it as artist space). The height limit was increased from 35' to 55' but that change is mostly irrelevant here since the building is already about that tall.

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Correct?

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Generally yes, but housing is not permitted on this site without a variance. Given that the intention to protect the artists' space was made clear by the BPDA during the drafting of the JP/ROX guidelines, I'd imagine NEU would have to present a detailed plan about how they hoped to preserve the artist space were they to seek a use variance from the ZBA.

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