By Morgan Thomas - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE)-
The non-profit First Street Art Center has to give up their prime downtown location on the corner of south first and Lufkin Avenue to a rent-paying business.
"This building had been empty and it was donated when this was originally set up with the Piney Woods Cultural Association," said Alisa Steed managing director of First Street Art Center.
Since then, the center has spent three years spreading the word about their local art gallery, cultural events and even art classes. They have to find a new home or close their doors.
"I mean I hate to say it but we're technically homeless on Feb. 1 unless something happens between now and then," said Steed.
It may be for selfish reasons, but the First Street Art Center's fellow downtown businesses will not be happy to see them go.
"The Art Center has been a tremendous asset to downtown. It's brought people down and had some wonderful events down there. So they've been an extra draw to the downtown area," said Clyde Dickens owner of A-1 Party Rentals.
The First Street Art Center isn't just a cultural hub for downtown Lufkin, but it's also a hub for local artists to display and sale their works of art. The Lufkin-area is full of local artists.
From painters to jewelry designers they all stay in business thanks to the art center.
"We have over 250 artists who show their stuff here. That's people within a 100 mile radius of Lufkin, mostly, within a 30 mile radius of Lufkin. So that's a lot of artists who don't have a place to show their stuff," said Steed.
According to downtown business owner, Clyde Dickens, this goes against downtown revitalization efforts.