Flatbed Loses Its Lease

Pioneering press must move in 2019 and 12 tenants with it

The decimation of Austin’s arts venues claims another victim, and the story is all too familiar: Eastside warehouse, home to a nationally renowned arts organization for more than a decade, lost its lease, at least a dozen groups that make or show art there soon to be homeless. This time, it's Flatbed Press being forced out of its space on MLK.

Yes, the pioneering printmaking facility that turned an unused 18,000-square-foot industrial building into one of the city's first creative hubs will have to move out of the space by February 2019, the month its current lease expires. According to a statement on Flatbed's Facebook page, "Originally, the lease was to be extended through 2021, but Flatbed was given notice late last month that the extension would no longer be available." If you want some irony sauce to pour over the bitter taste that leaves, try this: The reason Flatbed first leased the East Austin space back in 1999 was because of rising rents on its original home in the Downtown Warehouse District.

With this huge hit, Flatbed joins Pump Project, Salvage Vanguard Theater, and the Rude Mechs among Eastside arts groups that have suffered losses of longtime artistic homes to rising rents and development in recent years. And as with those groups, Flatbed's loss of space affects far more than one organization or artist. The facility on East MLK has always been as much an arts community space as a home for the printmakers. It currently houses Gallery Shoal Creek, CAMIBAart, Recspec Gallery, Austin Book Arts Center, and several studios for artists, architects, and filmmakers. They'll have to be on the hunt for new homes, too, and it won't be any easier for them than it has been for the above entities, Co-Lab Projects, or any of the other artists and arts organizations that have been actively searching for affordable space over the past several years.

The announcement on Facebook closes with this statement from Flatbed owner-director and recent inductee into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame Katherine Brimberry: “This early need to relocate will force a difficult change for Flatbed given the real estate climate in Austin. Flatbed was established in 1989 and over the past 28 years our vision has always been to serve artists in helping them create etchings, woodcuts, lithographs, and monotypes. We also strive to educate the public about the fine art print by showing exhibitions by top-notch artists working in printmaking media. We want to continue our work and truly desire to find a space that can house not only our studio and gallery but other studios and art businesses who focus on art on paper. We want to continue being a place where the public can enjoy seeing and purchasing contemporary prints. A relocation may give us an opportunity to expand and create a center for works on paper. We are looking for partners to help us realize this vision.”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Flatbed Press
Celebrating the Women of Flatbed Press at PrintAustin 2019
Celebrating the Women of Flatbed Press at PrintAustin 2019
Elisabet Ney Museum gives Austin's world-class press its historic due

Robert Faires, Jan. 11, 2019

"Martin Mazorra: Language of Flowers" at O2 Gallery
Woodcut and letterpress brilliance brings a garden of visual delights

Wayne Alan Brenner, Dec. 28, 2018

More by Robert Faires
Last Bow of an Accidental Critic
Last Bow of an Accidental Critic
Lessons and surprises from a career that shouldn’t have been

Sept. 24, 2021

"Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams" Tells the Story of an Artist
The first-ever museum exhibition of Daniel Johnston's work digs deep into the man, the myths

Sept. 17, 2021


Flatbed Press, Katherine Brimberry, Gallery Shoal Creek, CAMIBAart, Recspec Gallery, Pump Project, Rude Mechs, Salvage Vanguard Theater

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle