Bad news often breaks on Friday afternoons, and today is no exception: The Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center is shutting its doors.
The Oregonian’s D.K. Row has the story on Oregon Live; expect him to explore it in greater depth soon.
The city-run Portland Parks & Recreation, which owns the old firehouse and its grounds, announced that the non-profit IFCC’s board has voted to cease operations because of persistent deficits, in spite of decent attendance at events.
The center’s failure is a blow to Portland’s alternative and multicultural arts scenes. Over the years IFCC has had its ups and downs, but since it began in 1982 it’s been a welcoming space for emerging theater and dance companies, visual artists, musicians, and community events. Artists who often felt shut out of downtown spaces found a congenial home here, as did North and Northeast Portland residents who discovered the joys of having a vital art center close to home.
The shutdown takes effect May 1, but existing rental contracts through June 30 will be honored. That means, presumably, that upcoming shows by Rose City Vaudeville and Vagabond Opera, as well as IFCC’s share of Disjecta‘s Portland2010 biennial art exhibit, will go on as planned.
IFCC’s problems reflect the difficulties that the prolonged international economic crisis presents to cultural organizations, especially small and midsized ones. Put simply, everyone’s strapped for cash, and traditional sources are either tapped out or stretched thin. IFCC’s budget is built on just 20 percent earned income, the rest coming from foundation, corporate, individual and government grants. For everyone, those are getting tougher and tougher to nail down.
Read the parks department’s press release after the jump: