If you drive down W. William Street to First and look at the Northwest corner you'll see the old Finer Paint and Glass warehouse with a newly painted bright yellow front. Last September four people negotiated to rent it from the city and put the space to good use. Since then a lot more people have gotten involved, and it has developed into an Artists Workshop with a series of studios dealing with artwork including a wood workshop, silk screening, jewelry making, print makers, sketching and oil paintings, sculpturing, ceramics, weaving, a guitar maker, the Cosmic Construction Company, and the Cosmic Trucking Company. It's been areal struggle for these people all through the winter to be able to stay there. To pay the massive heating and electric bills they had killer community parties a number of times with bands and good refreshments, charging a small donation providing a good, good time for everyone. On the other hand the city's plans for the space have included completely destroying not only that building, but that whole neighborhood, in hopes that they could build a high speed highway through there supposedly making it five minutes easier to get downtown. Fortunately Ann Arbor is somewhat of an exceptional city and because of changes like the 18 year old vote and the emergence of the Human Rights Party and mainly because of the continuing interest and involvement of the black community in that area (which would have been most affected by the demolition plans) the people of Ann Arbor were able to vote down the city's proposals (called the Packard-Beakes By-pass up until time to vote when the city made a last ditch attempt to confuse the issue and called t the Ashley-First Extension on the ballot). Now that those plans have been doused there are rumors of more yet still to come in the city's plans for that space.
There are always more artists than there is space to work in and tools and equipment to work with. There is another whole part of the warehouse being used by the city now in an unnecessary capacity as an extra warehouse for stuff that could easily by stored in another of their spaces that is only being partly used. The warehouse workshop people would like to rent more (continued on page 12 Art Sale! continued from page 4) of the space, but the city is unwilling so far. The Sun talked with Buck Rogers, one of the major energies behind the whole thing. He makes his living from his wood workshop located in the front of the building. He explained that what they are trying to do is create the environment for a comfortable workshop where artists can work, as well as display their work for sale. Buck is also involved in a volunteer program at the Platt Road Juvenile Home that enables him to teach a wood workshop for the young people being held there. He further explained that at the warehouse workshop they really want to relate to the community around them and perhaps work it to provide a way for people to learn different skills from them, perhaps work a program for example so the Platt Road kids could come there and learn, or figure out a way to share skills with the Artists Workshop at the Washington Street Community Center. The people at the Workshop are concerned also with the reactions of the city towards them and want to work out a way to be able to survive and grow. Towards developing an understanding of what they're doing they've organized an Art Fair for May 20th. It's planned for the yard in front of the warehouse and will start at noon and go on until dark. This will provide a way for them all to display what they've been doing, demonstrate how to do stuff too and invite the community to come and see what they're about. They also want to invite anyone who would like to display their work at the Art Fair to contact them (no phone, you have to go dig it to get in touch). That night they'll have a party with folk music and jams later on with good refreshments. It's worth it to go check the place out-May 20th would be a good time if not before. See you there!