The number of co-working spaces will expand in January as new contender Outlet Coworking replaces Gallery 2110 and the Sacramento Art Complex in the building at 2110 K St. Renovation work will begin Dec. 1.
A string of art industry veterans – Barry Smith, Clare Bailey and Michael Key – all tried to succeed with the gallery and art complex, but it was tough slogging amid an economic downturn. Industry newcomer Art Aguilar took over management last January, he said, and revenues were improving, but it was a case of too little, too late. He hopes to relocate the business to a smaller space in midtown Sacramento.
“We’re looking at a couple of buildings,” Aguilar said. “2110 Gallery is not going to stop, and the Sacramento Art Complex is not going to end.”
Gallery 2110 is the third such business to announce a closure: The Temp Gallery, 1616 Del Paso Blvd. in Sacramento, will end its last show on Nov. 29; Lodi’s Knowlton Gallery, 115 S. School St., on Jan. 15.
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Gallery 2110’s landlord, Thomas Roth, said he had been subsidizing the gallery and art complex for about seven years.
“We rent the space, and we pay electric, heat, taxes, insurance, the whole thing,” Roth said. “At the end of the day, we were netting 20 or 25 cents a square foot… . We typically earn just below $2 with our small commercial buildings, except for this one. If it wasn’t art, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Middle-class and upper-middle-class consumers largely stopped spending their discretionary income on art amid the economic downturn. In the same period, the co-working concept emerged and expanded. In 2010, such spaces were workplaces for only 20,000 workers worldwide, according to a recent report from DeskMag.com and Emergent Research, but today there are 160,000 individuals using more than 3,000 co-working spaces.
“Co-working … hadn’t really been done on a big scale here yet,” said Travis Reich, who develops, sells and manages real estate. “We’re really trying to have 125 to 130 people working out of the building.”
In co-working spaces, workers pay a monthly fee for different membership levels. Some simply want access to common rooms, Wi-Fi, electricity, conference rooms, mailboxes and kitchen appliances. Others want those benefits plus a shared office with file cabinets and a desk. And, some individuals want offices for themselves or their team.
Both Travis and Harrison Reich plan to house their businesses at Outlet Coworking. Travis operates TKR Property Management, and Harrison is a co-founder of Plaid Zebra Films and The Old Screen Door band. Their sister Carly Reich will be Outlet’s director of operations. The siblings, all in their late 20s or early 30s, attended Bella Vista High School.
Aguilar will be renting office space from the Reichs for his other projects. He told tenants about six weeks ago that the building would be converted to a new use, and he vowed to find a new home. Over the last six months, Aguilar has started co-marketing art shows with local nonprofits: the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, Developmental Disabilities Service Organization and WEAVE. A portion of all sales revenue went to the nonprofits.
The nonprofits brought in customers looking for a win-win – a piece of art they loved and a donation for their favorite cause. Aguilar realized the power of this combination after a show in April. A resident artist at 2110 K, Somboun Sayasane, inherited roughly 200 paintings from his parents. They had been caretakers for a Jewish woman named Meta Bryt, an artist who left them a trunk with a note saying: “Do not open until I pass.”
Sayasane found an unexpected treasure trove in the trunk. He worked closely with Roth, Aguilar and the Jewish Federation to reconstruct Bryt’s life. Educated at the Academy of Arts, Berlin, she immigrated to the United States after losing her parents in the Holocaust. In New York, she studied with abstract painter Leo Manso ,whose work is in the permanent collections of the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Gallery and other institutions.
Bryt’s work sold very well, Aguilar said, as did art at other benefit shows. When he looks back over his books for the last six or seven months, he said, revenue was clearly growing.
Aguilar’s success has motivated Bob Dreizler and other emerging artists from the Sacramento Art Complex to say they will lease with him if he finds a new spot in midtown.
Dreizler, a longtime financial planner, had leased a studio at the 2110 K building for about a year. He fielded a call from this columnist after returning from picking up a final load of photographs from his studio there.
“It was just a sad experience,” he said. “It was a great place for people to go and see a lot of different artists in one spot. Most of the galleries had a couple artists, and usually it was pretty high-end stuff. This was a place you could have gotten some reasonably priced art.”
Call The Bee’s Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Follow her on Twitter @CathieA_SacBee.