Eyelevel Gallery is moving. Again. For the last year the non-profit artist-run centre flirted with staying in its small Gottingen Street storefront space, or moving to as far away as Dartmouth. Now a small office space on Cornwallis Street across from Dee Dee’s is crammed with the gallery’s filing cabinets and new director Katie Belcher’s desk.
“[The move] was precipitated by a financial decision,” Belcher explains. “The rent was going up by about 30 percent.”
Landlord Ezra Edelstein gave Eyelevel a year to decide whether to stay or go. When his company bought the building last fall, rent was cheap, and wasn’t covering the cost of heating, electricity and rising property taxes. When Gottingen Street became part of a business district, property taxes increased on top of already rising property assessments, Edelstein explains.
He gave the gallery two options: pay the same rent in addition to heat, electricity and property tax, or move back into the space after renovations are complete and pay higher rent.
It’s Eyelevel’s tenth move in 40 years. Most moves have been in recent history. Space on the peninsula, especially downtown, has become increasingly pricey, causing the gallery to jump from place to place, and change programming to be less reliant on gallery space.
Belcher says she’s excited about the new space, which allows for more programming in temporary spaces. She’s eyeing small businesses, shipping containers and even a boat for future projects.
Eyelevel is sharing its new space with the Atlantic Filmmakers Co-operative, which moved out of the CBC building on Sackville Street in 2011. Eyelevel isn’t the only arts groups in the north end with space concerns. As The Coast previously reported, the Roberts Street Social Centre moved to Creighton Street earlier this year, and a new landlord gave the group until February to find a new space.