Arts Corridor Welcomes Unique Funding Sources

25 10 2008

What do you do in a challenged economy when you’re in an industry that is already under-funded? Well if you’re Tig Collins, you think outside the box. Really far outside the box. November will see the opening of two businesses, providing much needed jobs for downtown residents as well as generating funds to benefit Tucson arts.

ArtFare, headquartered in the historic Sears Executive Tower on 6th Avenue, is renovating adjacent buildings which formerly housed the Georget’s Restaurant and Kelly’s Army Surplus, creating a steady source of revenue from a new café and a market. The popular Georget’s Restaurant, famous locally for its great desserts, is being transformed into Burger City, a gourmet burger joint with a split personality and Kelly’s will become Kelly’s Market on 6th Avenue.

Burger City will offer convenient eats. Directly across from Ronstadt Bus Center the staff awaits your arrival for either a quick take-out order and dash to work or, for those want to linger, customers can dine in or sit at the attractive café tables enjoying the free wireless internet and get a jump on the day.

Kelly’s Market is located next door and in the finest tradition of bodegas and delis will offer deli foods prepared in the Burger City kitchen as well as stocking some of life’s necessities. Downtown and running late from work but have to pick up some milk and puppy chow on the way home? Call it in and drive up to the front of the market. They’ll have it bagged ready for you to pay and dash home.

ArtFare has long had a place in Tucson’s arts scene as the place to go when you have been displaced (5 out of 6 of the downtown warehouse artists made their way to ArtFare after being evicted: OTO, Dance Loft, Odaiko Sonora, and Capoeria Malangram); are looking for a “resting place” while reorganizing and restructuring your organization (e.g., El Ojito Springs Theater and Gallery); or in need of emergency short term rehearsal space (like the cast of the soon to open musical “Lost”).

The cost of providing reduced-cost or free space, utilities, support staff and, in some cases, funding of struggling artists and musicians has skyrocketed. Rather than turn away deserving artists and organizations or fold up and close, ArtFare has found a way to be even more of an asset to the downtown community.

Profits from both businesses will support the non-profit endeavors of ArtFare, after costs and wages for its cheerful employees. For more information, contact Tig Collins at 520-903-0918 or email her at space@artfare.org

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