Grey Gallery and Lounge Needs Our Help

Brad Biancardi - This Piano Has Been Drinking

Brad Biancardi. This Piano Has Been Drinking Not Me. Oil, acrylic and collage on Canvas. From Brad's show at Grey Gallery and Lounge, 2009.

Yesterday Erik Guttridge, owner of Grey Gallery and Lounge, sent a very troubling note out to his email list:

On June 19th we closed the doors of Grey on 11th Avenue due to issues between the landlord and the building owner. It was a difficult thing to do with business going well, so much support from the community, and a lot to look forward to in the coming months and years. The Grey staff and I focused on the positive side and looked forward to reopening soon in a better building.

What seemed a worst-case scenario has, unfortunately, gotten even worse. The building owner has filed a lawsuit, against me and Grey claiming $80,000 in damages to a space that was left in better condition and with over $50,000 of improvements left behind. It’s a nightmare. His case has no merit though I have to defend against it and that takes money that I do not have. Or… it takes the help of a compassionate lawyer willing to work on contingency or pro bono.

This is where I ask for help: if you are a lawyer or you know of a lawyer in the Seattle area willing to help a community-centric, small business work through a case against a megalomaniacal landlord please contact me.

I certainly don’t know all the specifics of this case, but like many neighborhood residents, I recall that before the space was Grey, it was Backstage Thrift.  (Remember what that place looked like inside?  It was no Grey Gallery.)  Many of us were there when Erik began making drastic improvements to the space, at his own expense, which leaves little doubt that Erik’s side of the story is well worth hearing. (Capitol Hill Seattle blog has more on the case.)

Grey’s website doesn’t seem to be up at the moment, but a quick search through my blog archives yields a small cross section of shows that made the gallery such an important neighborhood fixture: artists like Robert Hardgrave, Allison Manch, Kristen Ramirez, Brad Biancardi, Kimberly Trowbridge and myself had solo shows during the popular gallery’s two and a half year tenure.  The closing of Grey is a huge loss to Capitol Hill and the entire Seattle art community.  If you think you can help him out, please email him here.

~ by emilypothast on September 18, 2010.

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