Goodbye Galapagos: DUMBO’s Galapagos Art Space Is Moving to… Detroit

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photo via Galapagos Art Space

After almost twenty years in Brooklyn‚ Galapagos Art Space will be vacating its DUMBO location (the cultural center started out in Williamsburg before moving to Main Street in 2007) and relocating to Detroit due to… can you guess? Does it, you wonder, have anything to do with the more advantageous weather of the Midwest? Is it because the people who work there just got sick and tired of the lack of lunch options in DUMBO? Or is it because the rent got so astronomically high that the owners of Galapagos determined that “New York City has become too expensive to continue incubating young artists. The white-hot real estate market burning through affordable cultural habit is no longer a crisis, it’s a conclusion?” Ding ding ding. That’s it! The right answer is that New York is losing a cultural institution due to its increasingly unaffordable landscape. What do you win for getting the answer right? Well, that’s the twist! You win nothing. In fact, we all lose. Happy Monday, everyone.

Robert Elmes, the executive director of Galapagos, cites that beyond the expenses it takes to run an art space in New York City, the main reason that he wants to relocate is because New York is no longer a place that artists can afford to live: “You can’t paint at night in your kitchen and hope to be a good artist. It doesn’t work that way.” Elmes and his wife, Philippa Kaye, have recently “bought nine buildings totaling about 600,000 square feet in [Detroit]’s Corktown neighborhood and in neighboring Highland Park, paying what he described as the price of ‘a small apartment in New York City’ for the properties.” The couple think that Detroit is set to become the new epicenter for all young and creative people who have lately been drawn to the city because of its incredibly cheap cost of living.

The last night of programming for Galapagos will be December 18th, and Gothamist reports that Two Trees (the property company that owns the building) plans to preserve the space as “a building for the arts.” Two Trees also said that they have “long supported and promoted the art and cultural community in DUMBO with free and below market rents and we will continue to do so.”

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