Closures USA

Williamsburg art centre forced to close

Rising property prices are shutting it down, but Monster Island goes out in style with free block party this month

After 7 years, Monster Island is closing with a weekend bash

BROOKLYN. Monster Island arts centre in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is closing in September after seven years because of rising property prices in the area.

“Monster Island has become one of the last standing institutions of what Williamsburg once was, a hub of creativity and excitement. The closing of it is very sad,” said Vashti Windish, the director of artist-run gallery, Live with Animals, which rented space in the former warehouse.

Monster Island was founded by Erik Zajaceskowski, the director of the not-for-profit art space, Secret Project Robot. The arts centre has been home to artists, musicians and retailers, but the building is scheduled for demolition in November. Rumour has it that Whole Foods supermarket may open a branch in its place.

Demand for property in Williamsburg has been steadily rising according to a report published in June by real estate group Corcoran. The report found that average property prices per sq. ft in the second quarter of 2011 had increased by 10% compared with the same period in 2010. The waterfront area—where Monster Island is located—has proved particularly popular with developers this year, according to Corcoran’s Brooklyn report for the second quarter of the financial year.

This demand is taking a toll on the local art community. “We are no longer able to stay open owing to the high cost of doing business in New York,” said Korin Prince, the manager of another Williamsburg space, Easy Street Gallery in a statement.

The art space is throwing a free, farewell block party on 10 September as a thank you to the community.

Selina Cuff

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