As a resident of the CopyCat from 1988 to 1997, the recent article, “The CopyCat building is the last bastion of DIY studio space for Baltimore artists. Is the city’s warehouse arts scene coming to an end?” (July 29), was déjà vu all over again. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard about emptying the building to fix it up, make it legal or sell it.
But this is the first time I’ve heard the artists saying they have no place else to go. If there is no place like The CopyCat for artists in the city, there is no one to blame but City Hall.
In the early 1990s, ideas were floated to renovate abandoned buildings as artist live- and work- spaces, making little CopyCats in an attempt to reinvigorate the old commercial and industrial core of the city. Artist studios are, after all, small businesses and small businesses generate a lot of income for Baltimore.
City Hall announced plans to offer low-interest loans for renovation of buildings around Antique Row, but a new administration never followed up. A similar plan was developed for warehouses around the Remington/Falls Road corridor as a private-public partnership, the city backed out. Plans for industrial spaces above Greektown went so far as to have a bank “interested” in the project, but the city let that one drop.
As has been proven time and again, small businesses are the ones who keep the lights on in Baltimore while the mega-developers City Hall loves to shower with lucrative tax breaks will abandon the city the second their profit margin dips. Meh, let them go. Maybe one of those big shiny eyesores in Harbor East will one day be The New CopyCat.
— Tim Goecke, Baltimore
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