Bryan Suereth, executive director of Disjecta, the interdisciplinary arts space in the R.J. Templeton Building on the Burnside Bridgehead, sent out the organization's monthly newsletter on Monday night, April 30. But before Suereth could tout May's art events, he had more serious news to address: "We may say good-bye to the Templeton Building!" Suereth wrote.
Despite two years of fundraising—accumulating $200,000 with the motto "It's About Here," to make good on their part of a deal to renovate the cavernous 1929 building—Suereth says the building's owner, Lance Robbins, is now putting the building up for sale, thereby leaving Disjecta "in limbo." The organization's short-term lease on the space ran out, and Disjecta had not yet negotiated a long-term lease on the space with "the ever-shifting" Robbins, as Suereth called him in the newsletter.
"We are so beyond ready to go, in terms of the development project," Suereth says, adding that they've fulfilled their end of the fundraising deal with Robbins. (The Mercury was unable to reach Robbins, a Los Angeles attorney, by press time.)
But instead of waiting to see if the building sells, Suereth tells the Mercury, "we're seriously considering some options now that are very good, maybe better than the Templeton." He declined to elaborate on alternative facilities at this point, but says Disjecta will likely make an announcement in June as to whether they'll stay in the Templeton or move. He figures a new owner who might pay the $2.9 million price tag for the building is unlikely to give Disjecta a low-rent deal.
Disjecta's been through this before: The organization moved into the Templeton Building two years ago, after losing their lease at an old Masonic Lodge on NE Russell when that building sold. It seems fitting that the organization's website defines the word "disjecta" as "the mistakes, false starts, unintended results, and ________ that are cut away when creating work." (Meanwhile, folks in the arts scene joke that "disjecta" is "Latin for fundraising.")
Suereth brushes off the criticism, saying the time at the Templeton Building "was interesting. It was formative. It's excited people, it's made people skeptical. And if we end up in the Templeton Building, then it won't be a false start."
"It's the way art is done—you start with an idea, you've got a concept, you're creating this piece of work, and ultimately it changes into something else. You continue to look for the right opportunity, the right color if you will, the right notes, and it'll come together."