New beginnings for The Artel

The artist collective prepares to relocate to 75 Queen St.

The Artel’s new home at 75 Queen St.
The Artel’s new home at 75 Queen St.
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The Artel artist collective will continue its operations after finding a new home at 75 Queen St.

After receiving notification of their eviction from their current space at 205 Sydenham St. in January, the collective members had to scramble to find a solution.

Keystone Property Management — The Artel’s current landlord — made the decision to not renew The Artel’s lease on the Sydenham building, due to a need for renovations and a rocky relationship with its tenants.

The collective was given until May 1 to relocate.

Avery Everhart, MA ’16 — a member of The Artel artist collective — is prepared for the move to the new location, which is referred to as the AKA Autonomous Social Centre.

“It’s a really cool space on Queen St. right at the intersection with Wellington,” Everhart said.

The building hosts both residential and commercial needs of four different collectives, including The Artel, Everhart added.

Other collectives housed at the location are the Germination collective, Blue Heron collective and the AKA Autonomous’ equity collective.

Germination’s collective is the main collective that currently runs out of the AKA Centre and focuses on social and political programming. Germination raises awareness about social justice issues through programs like “Pineapples against Patriarchy”, a zine that discusses gender inequality and women’s issues.

Blue Heron collective runs both a library and bookstore out of the AKA Centre and also focuses on social justice issues.

The AKA Centre also has its own equity collective, which is in charge of maintaining the building, and ensuring its operations are sustainable.

According to Everhart, the biggest change The Artel will face at the new location will be the smaller physical space, which they’ll share with the other collectives.

“They have a library as well as a bookstore and a commercial space,” Everhart said. “Right now we’re drafting an agreement between both our organizations that respects our autonomy but also works towards cohabitating between things that are good for both of us.”

Everhart said that the cost of the new space on 75 Queen St. is “comparable” to their current living situation.

“We’re using The Artel’s revenue to pay a little bit of extra rent on top of the residential rent so that we can share commercial space with them for events and exhibitions,” Everhart said.

“We decided that The Artel would cover the security deposit for the residential part and then after that the tenants that move in would be responsible for our first months rent and then paying until we move out.”

Recently, The Artel’s cash box, containing the collective’s rent money, went missing.

“We usually do a deposit once a month so the cash flow revenue and cash box were supposed to be in at the end of the week,” Everhart said.

“I don’t want to say that it got stolen, but we’ve torn the house apart looking for it and it’s been about a week now.”

Everhart was unable to provide more detail regarding the moving costs, noting that the finances are still “sort of up in the air”.

“In terms of moving out costs we’re actually hoping that through a bunch of contacts that we collected at a series of town hall meetings and through like interactions with friends and community members that we might be able to do it really cheap,” Everhart said. “It’s only about three or four blocks away and so we’re hoping we might be able to do it in stages.”

To raise money for the move, as well as pay their rent, The Artel will be hosting a rummage sale on April 6 and an “Eviction Party” at The Grad Club on April 25.

After spending 10 years at their current 205 Sydenham St. home, there are mixed feelings about the uprooting of the collective amongst collective members, Everhart added.

“A lot of tenants and members have particular relationships to it and have a history of being in Kingston and so we’re sad to leave 205 Sydenham,” Everhart said.

“But we’re also excited about the prospect of sharing space with an organization that we like and with people that are really organized and are experienced.”

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