The Arts Asylum, a studio space, performance venue and artist refuge will cease operations at its 1000 E. Ninth Street location in the Paseo West neighborhood at the end of this year.
“Thank you for your support over the years – most especially this past year that has been incredibly difficult and trying for everyone,” a letter posted on social media August 4 read. “Please know that the support of so many in our community has been appreciated and honored.”
The Arts Asylum plans to relocate to the A to Z Theatrical Campus at 800 E. Meyer Blvd. in Brookside East, where they plan to invest in the creation of a new space for theater, events and learning.
“We did not come to this decision lightly; however, it is the correct choice for the Asylum to continue its mission of providing a safe place for new and established artists from throughout the Kansas City metro area,” the letter read.
Many factors have shaped their decision; most significant has been the pandemic and the income losses that they, along with all of their partners and the theatre community as a whole, have taken due to an inability to present events and productions to the public.
“While we do not anticipate another “shelter in place” order, we do believe that the mask mandates and capacity restrictions will be with us for the foreseeable future,” the letter read.
Another major consideration is the expense of maintaining the Asylum’s historic building, the former Calvary Baptist Church originally built in 1888. While they have done their best to continue with programming and maintenance over the shut down, going from functioning at 100% capacity to less than 25% capacity through July 2021 has made the upkeep and renovations simply more than are sustainable and Arts Asylum believes it is fiscally irresponsible to continue investing in the facility.
In addition to the move, Arts Asylum is forming a collective of producers and educators to help further their mission. They are still in the planning phases of the move and do not currently have a timeline for a firm reopening date.
The Arts Asylum has been a staple within the artistic community of Kansas City for over a decade, serving the area just east of the downtown core on the corner of Ninth and Harrison. With resident artists’ studios for individual artists and entrepreneurs from a range of disciplines, home to established and emerging community productions and events, and dynamic community outreach, Arts Asylum has provided a safe place to create and this mission has not changed.
The Northeast News interviewed Arts Asylum’s Evie Craig earlier this year for a podcast, which can be found at: northeastnews.net/pages/187-bottoms-up-festival/. A special behind-the-scenes tour is available on our Patreon channel at patreon.com/NortheastNewsKC.