Out of the Blue Too Departure Letter from Central Square

A Farewell and a Welcome to New Venues and Opportunity

Owner Top Tipton and Business Manager Parama Chattopadhyay, with Co-Founders Deborah Priestly & Sue Carlin

December, 2017

Central Square has truly been gentrified. Aside from Out of the Blue needing to leave after over 2 decades, two parking lots that are essential for both commerce and residency in Central Square have completely shut down. Now, parking starts with a 20-minute circle round Mass Ave buildings, and folks are parking in non-parking spaces and hoping they can be in and out before traffic patrol slams them with a $100 ticket. Central Square gentrification has become so flagrant that parking lots are being shut down to make high rise condos. Perhaps Out of the Blue Too Gallery will also turn into high-rise condos for those seeking to be “hip and in the city” after moving right in to where “hip artists sell art cheap,” only to then rid those “hip artists” when things need to look upscale….Aah, the story of occult capitalism predating over a 25-year strong Art Gallery in Cambridge!

As we move out of our location at 541 Massachusetts Ave due to skyrocketing rents that kept Tom Tipton from really even making a salary while believing in the priceless aspect of creative art, we want you to know that we tried our very best. Rent rose from $2,500 to $5,000 to $10,000 over 3 years at our Mass Ave location. Some vendors consistently paid rent while others were not consistent in rental payments. Some volunteers were die-hard and are still helping to break down shop and recruit other venues. Other volunteers were flaky at best, and sometimes downright non-existent. Some performers advertised, brought in a crowd and made ticket sales for both the Gallery and their bands. Others left OOTB with an evening concert/vendor loss by not advertising at all and then still wishing to keep their ticket sales. The pawn shop that wished for more buying power on Mass Ave and whom we originally merged with to continue our lease with from August 2017 until August 2019 eventually opted to change their signed agreement to the landlord and we lost that last ditch effort. Still, they wanted to be part of the ideal location and we settled for 1/5 of the original agreement for prime-time window space and no other forward costs that they originally proposed.

If we can say one thing: We did honor everyone’s desire to have a chance to hang art and vend and perform, though many asked for well below sustainable rates. We tried to fund-raise but for whatever reason, with the exception of a couple generous folk, folks gave to individual’s vacations and such on GoFundMe rather than their local Art Gallery serving folks of all incomes, genders, cultures, and economic standpoints. To those who gave to other non-profits and global concerns, we appreciate that you did that and don’t expect even more of your gracious philanthropy towards our Gallery. But, perhaps those who could have donated to a cause like ours didn’t because we didn’t have bar coding and monopolized coupons attached to people’s credit cards like like Target and CVS.

But we tried, and we are starting anew. And those bar codes will happen at our new location, as well as incentives to continue supporting our creative mission. In the meanwhile, we thank those true supporters of our Gallery, the continued Board of Directors, and the volunteer support we received over the years. More importantly, we thank the visual artists, poets, and performers for investing in the space in the ways that they found reasonable. We are excited to continue to house some of these creative minds as we merge with another organization in another town, and work ourselves back up!

But that takes moving costs, positive reinforcement by the City of Cambridge and cities bordering it, press releases, and documented concern. As we closed up shop in December, it has been concerning to see how many folks are surprised that their “unique art Gallery” is closing down. In only the final days, I had folks of all abilities, sexes, cultures, religions, and socio-economic statuses come in to the shop truly dejected by its chromatic uniqueness crumbling to ashes… We even left the piano out today for hundreds of excited musicians to play so that they might still carry that torch of artistic sentiment in our last hours while a buyer for only $50 for that working piano pulled out after Tom sprained his foot from helping to move it.

Still, despite the bizarre nature of these events, I have reason to believe that some of these folks wish to help in some way, but don’t really know how. After speaking to City Council Members, Cambridge Redevelopment, the Mayor, and CCTV, we now feel that we and we as our strong little cohort should start to collect concern from supporters directly to our e-mail. If you have any concerns or ideas for our redevelopment or just a written testament of what our Gallery means to you, please contact founding members Susan Innamorato, Deborah Priestly, Tom Tipton and myself, Parama Chattopadhyay, at our work email: ootbgallery@gmail.com. Us folks are still working round the clock to catalog artists’ work, meet with councils in other towns, and secure hanging and performance venues. You can also PayPal any amount of donation to that email for the purposes of rebuilding and continuing our mission while we continue to work on a voluntary basis and pour all monies into providing space for artists at large. As I mentioned in my earlier posts, if each person donated just 1 dollar to ootbgallery@gmail.com from our over 7,000 followers on Facebook, we would have the 7,000 to at least start from a more financially strong standpoint. What more do I need to say: A $1 donation one time which costs less than a cup of coffee. A one time less-than-a-cup-of-coffee donation for a registered 501c3 Non-Profit to its PayPal at ootbgallery@gmail.com. If that happened for just four months (August-November 2017) at $1 for each follower of our Gallery, we would have the $25,000 that our landlord asked for us this past December 1st and we potentially could have continued into the next several months, if not another year. Imagine just how many other costs we incur with heating, electricity, gas and all other overhead costs for a 6,000 square foot place so that we as the main workers of OOTB do our jobs completely pro-bono. Folks come in throughout the world to “ooh” and “ahh” about trinkets and glamorous art, but most try and finagle a buy for hundreds of dollars less or just to pet XO. We do appreciate all the buzz and visits and XO fully appreciates his celebrity-dom, but real business is what we need…

BUT, our Gallery still exists, and a location exists for it to sustain again in 2018, but moving costs are essential. So, if you each just decide to donate $1 to $5 to our ootbgallery@gmail.com, we would be ever so obliged to our 7,000 + followers!

OOTB Mission: “The mission of Out of the Blue Too Gallery is to organize, support, and present to the public at large the creative efforts of local artists, musicians, and more from our community. Artists of all abilities are given an opportunity to share in the expression of the arts and all of its varieties and forms, whether through painting, music, dance, poetry, story, acting or singing. The Gallery aims to enable these same artists to intermingle with those of different disciplines, to grow and learn from each other. The Gallery’s purpose is to bring people together in an inspiring, supportive, and empowering environment.”

Again, even if you can not donate to the cause, please get the message out to the public for our regrowth at a new location.

Here are some numbers of organizations to call and get the message out:

NECN +16176305000 channel 10
Channel 4 617-783-4444
Channel 5 781-449-0400
WBUR 617-353-2893
Boston Globe 617-929-2000
Boston Herald 617-426-3000

Thanks for any and all help you can give written-wise, vocal-wise, or donation-wise. Thank you, from all of us at Out of the Blue Too Gallery, and XO, Cambridge’s favorite dog! And please read through this website for more details about our organization.

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