Public Space One acquires Close House, opening scheduled for 2022


Public Space One has found a new home on Gilbert Street by purchasing the historic Close House, the community arts organization said in a press release on Tuesday.

The purchase was made possible after the sale of the property at 206 Lafayette Street, which is home to the former public access television channel that merged with PS1 in 2019.

PS1 signed the Close House purchase contract on March 28, director John Engelbrecht told Press-Citizen.

The Close House, located at 538 S. Gilbert Street, was listed at $ 1.35 million. The two-story brick house was built in 1874 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places 100 years later.

Sheryl and Chuck Skaugstad bought the building in 1980 and operated an interior design studio and furniture showroom there until they moved the company to Coralville in 2019, according to the commercial website. from Skaugstad.

PS1 made an offer to purchase the property for $ 1.25 million, which was accepted by the Skaugstads, Engelbrecht said in an email to the Press-Citizen.

Engelbrecht added that PS1 will bring collectives and other nonprofits together in the Close House to start “dreaming and fundraising” and hosting preview events this year. But there won’t be an official Close House opening until mid-2022.

Public Space One purchased the historic Close House at 538 S. Gilbert St. in Iowa City.  The arts group is planning a grand opening of its new gallery space in mid-2022.

The historic space needs a bathroom and an entrance ramp that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Engelbrecht said, before “official” programming begins.

PS1’s North Gilbert Street locations will continue to be mined, a move that brought PS1 out of the basement of the Wesley Center and into a house the arts organization might call its own in 2019.

The same year, the PS1 faced a challenge at its Lafayette site.

Engelbrecht said real estate developer Gilbane approached PS1 and shared his visions, which included purchasing other properties.

It became clear to PS1 that staying at 206 Lafayette Street after more than two years of construction has taken place around the building would disrupt Media Arts Co-Op, a community resource.

MAC, which provides a recording studio and other editing tools, has already faced noise-related challenges at the Lafayette site, Engelbrecht said, such as proximity to the railroad tracks.

“We hope to move away from that a bit,” Engelbrecht said. “We are still not very far in the Close House, but we will have its own space. “

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According to the press release, the new location will offer an expanded gallery, studio and outdoor art space.

The Close House will also provide an apartment for visiting artists.

The Center for Afrofuturist Studies will have a new Reading Room at the Close House – the Reading Room at 229 N. Gilbert St. is open to the public – and there will be a new community studio space for media production and MAC programming. .

The PS1 will also say goodbye to the upstairs housing of the Lafayette site, the café and the Uptown Bills community venue.

Musicians David Dondero and Dave Moore will give the final concert there on October 17th.

Around October 22, Engelbrecht said, PS1 will host an open house at the Close House. It will be open to members who support PS1.

“We were able to do what we do because of these people who give $ 5 to $ 50 a month for six to seven years,” he said.

Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle, and the arts at the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Contact her at [email protected] or (319) 519-9731. Follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.


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