Overland Park's InterUrban ArtHouse Buys A Post Office
When it comes to re-use of buildings, 2017 marks a big year for arts organizations.
The Johnson County Museum will move into a former bowling alley and ice skating rink in Overland Park, Kansas. Kansas City Young Audiences plans to relocate to a former office supply store in midtown Kansas City, Missouri. And last week, InterUrban ArtHouse closed on the purchase of a U.S. Postal Service building at 8010 Conser St. in downtown Overland Park.
"Five years ago the journey to find a permanent facility for affordable studios and community cultural space led us to the post office," says artist Nicole Emanuel, ArtHouse executive director.
Emanuel, who founded ArtHouse in 2011 to provide resources and studios in Johnson County, says it was a long process of advocacy, outreach and fundraising.
The site includes an acre of property with a 10,000- square-foot industrial building, a former sorting facility. Fundraising continues to complete the interior renovation.
"If you could picture a big square, we're going to have 12 studios, a community gallery space, a classroom," says Emanuel. "The loading dock, which is really large, will become the community front porch for performance. And we're going to put in a cafe."
InterUrban Arthouse's new facility, across the street from its current location in a former church, is expected to open in the summer of 2017. And the U.S. Postal Service will remain as a permanent anchor tenant providing retail services.
"Hundreds of people use that facility on a regular basis," Emanuel says. "It is a unique mixed-use."
Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @lauraspencer.