Thursday, September 20, 2007
So, all last week I was sort of casually looking for studio space for Atelier. First off, it needed to be cheap, since we'll be starting off slowly with the workshop offerings at first. It needed to be in an easily accessible location, not only for me, who needed it to be somewhere easliy gotten to by bus or train from home and work, but also for others, especially if there was limited (or nonexistent) parking. I wanted it to be safe, or at least in a secure building (either locked with a buzzer, or with a doorman, since I'd be there alone sometimes working on press stuff.)
So I've always loved the Fine Arts Building on Michigan with it's cool architectural details and artsy tenants (musicians, architects, dsigners, galleries, theater companies). I knew they rented studios to individual artists, and it occurred to me how unbelievably awesome it would be to have space there, though highly unlikely. But I also noticed the relative lack of literary tenants (though apparently there's a small press on the third floor I've since learned). A damn shame in a building that once housed Poetry magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, and L. Frank Baum.
So last Thursday I sort of casually wrote an e-mail to their offices inquiring if there was any available space. The administrative assistant kindly forwarded my e-mail to the building manager. Monday, when I was still waiting to hear back, figuring it was a no, I wandered over to Craigs List and lo and behold, there was space open in the Fine Arts Building listed right there in front of me--larger and a little pricier than I'd hoped for, but still I wanted to check it out. I don't think my heart has stopped racing since. I called immediately and left a message, and on Tuesday, the building manager called and said that the big studio was being looked at that morning and would probably be taken. BUT, he had just heard another tenant was leaving--a smaller, cheaper space, and if I wanted to see it, he'd show me.
Of course it was perfect. Big enough for a decent workspace for the press and a giant table for workshops--just what we needed. 9th Floor, huge windows looking north, a reasonable nice view in a section of the city where you usually can't see the sky unless you're REALLY high. Ample shelving and a closet and sink. All high ceilings and giant windows. In other words--my dream space. Also quiet and at the end of the hall, something I was a little worried about given a number of music tenants, but with door closed, you couldn't hear a thing. Plus, the building itself is so gorgeous, all orginal mosaic tile and courtyards and beautiful murals. And seriously, you can't get a more central location. Plus it's two blocks from the library. So I was NOT going to let it slip away. I turned over an application and a deposit on the spot. (I've found it's best not to look down or hestitate when you're doing something crazy like this..)Luckily, I had proof of my income since I'd been carrying around my salary letter since the begiining of September, which was all they needed to keep the thing off the market and eliminate the potential competition.
For the last two days I've been trying to keep busy with other things, to not worry over whether they'd take one look at my paltry current salary and deny me. I even wrote the building manager an e-mail saying that if they have any reservations about renting to me whether it's my crappy salary or the fact this is a new, unproven endeavor, I'd be willing to front a few months rent. Anything they wanted. I don't think I've ever been quite that desperate.
Apparently, desperation pays off. I sign the lease next week. We're in there in November. Now I've just got to get all the ducks in a row...