Local artists gathered their belongings from the Bell Foundry arts building as it is condemned by the city. (Baltimore Sun video)
After being evicted from their headquarters in the now-condemned Bell Foundry building following the discovery of a raft of safety violations there last week, members of the nonprofit Baltimore Rock Opera Society say they are "mad as hell" and looking for donations to help them purchase their own permanent space.
For the moment, the organization — which produces feature-length rock operas — is awaiting word from the owners of the Bell Foundry as to when and whether they will be allowed back into their rented space in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Their lease at the Bell Foundry runs through December 2017, they said.
But they are tired of pouring time and energy into reviving a rented space, only to be ousted because of code violations, a process they've now gone through multiple times, members of the organization wrote on their website. So, they've launched a fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $75,000 to purchase a new home that will be owned and controlled entirely by the nonprofit itself.
"In order to remain a part of the Baltimore arts community and seize control of the fate of our organization, we must have a space in which to operate, and we must be able to keep our doors open," they wrote.
They said they envision creating a space called "The Paradise," that will "offer multiple opportunities for technicians, craftspeople, and artists to become leaders, learn new skills and integrate themselves in the social fabric of Baltimore through a multi-use arts and performance space."
"We have no illusions about the scale of this endeavor, and that is why we will need all the help we can get," the group wrote. "You want to throw a concert and donate the proceeds to BROS? Sign up and do it. Bake sale? That'll work. Do you want to make and sell a calendar of baby pigs dressed as characters from BROS shows? Please somebody do that."