Issue Project Room Next Up To Get Saved By the City


Issue Project Room, the exceedingly well-booked and determined non-profit arts space that has bounced from the East Village to the Gowanus Canal to the Old American Can Factory, will live on a little longer. Last year, the space and its energetic, curly-haired doyenne, Suzanne Fiol, beat out more than 99 other cultural organizations for a spot on the first floor of a historic theater in Brooklyn (the city sold the theater to DUMBO developers Two Trees Management in 2003, but mandated that that an arts space be part of the deal). Issue’s triumph at finding a permanent home was tempered by what it would cost to rehab the cavernous, crumbling theater: $2 million dollars. A capital campaign raised a striking amount of money– $350,000–and now comes the news that the city, in the form of Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz, will be kicking in an addition $1.1 mil for renovations.

“I don’t understand half the things they do, and when they tell me about them, they lose me,” Markowitz told the Times, entertainingly. “But that’s not the point.” Between this and the city bailing out ABC No Rio back in June, things are looking up for some really unlikely but talented people. “Everybody gets kicked out of their space, or they end up shutting down,” Fiol told the paper. “But instead of getting all flipped out about that, I took the road of just finding a new space. And I’ve been really lucky.” Amen to that. On their website, Issue promises that, “once renovated, the new space at 110 will be home to more than 4,000 programs reaching more than 1,000,000 people across the next two decades,” which is a lot of people. The space will be open as soon as fall 2010.

An Avant-Garde Arts Group Bites Off a Lot to Chew [NYTimes]