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Arts Council signs lease for new home

August 31, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

daniels@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Arts Council secured its continued presence within Hagerstown's Arts and Entertainment District Tuesday, entering into a three-year lease with Demcore Development for property at 14 W. Washington St., adjacent to the former FSU Center, Arts Council Executive Director Kevin Moriarty said.

The arts council has been at 41 S. Potomac St. since 1997, enjoying rent below market rates under the building's former owner, musician Steven Wright. Wright agreed to sell the building earlier this year to Rockville, Md.-based accountant Vijay Paul, and Paul proposed increasing the council's rent in October from $750 to $1,916.

On Tuesday afternoon, with backing from the arts council's board of directors, Moriarty signed a three-year lease with Demcore. The council will move into the Washington Street building Oct. 1 for $1,400 a month in rent. Moriarty said while the rate is higher than its current rent, the new space includes a larger, 1,200-square-foot gallery as well as 750 square feet in office space.

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The council also will be able to set aside dedicated space for the staff of Antietam Review, a literary journal published by the arts council since 1982. Including a pair of two-year extensions, the arts council has the option to remain at the space through September 2012.

"I, personally, wanted some place more visible and some place that was much more fitted-out," Moriarty said. "I do feel that the new location is much more visible to streetlight traffic. People will look over and see the storefront."

From its new location, the arts council will open its doors to the public at 10 a.m. Oct. 4. It will host its first exhibition at the gallery with an evening unveiling Oct. 15.

Michael Deming, president of Demcore Development, could not be reached for comment.

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