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Charlotte Art League avoids eviction, will stay in NoDa home

The Charlotte Art League is in a precarious position after receiving a notice of eviction from the owner of its building on Raleigh Street.
Nick de la Canal
/
WFAE
The nonprofit Charlotte Art League was founded in 1965 and bills itself as Charlotte's oldest nonprofit art gallery and organization. It moved from its original home on Camden Road into its current Raleigh Street building in 2022.

The Charlotte Art League, one of Charlotte's oldest arts organizations, will not be evicted from its home near NoDa after falling behind nearly $200,000 in rent.

The nonprofit organization made the announcement in an email headlined "The Charlotte Art League is here to stay" sent to art league members on Friday.

According to the email, the group has worked out a deal with landlord Flywheel Partners to remain in its cream-colored building on Raleigh Street, though with a smaller footprint.

The group will vacate two event spaces and its front gallery — but will keep artist studios, a digital arts accelerator and a gallery space in the back of the building. The landlord will also forgive some of the owed back rent. The organization did not say how much.

The announcement is a small victory for the local nonprofit, which has been on shaky footing since the mass resignation of its entire 13-member board of directors last year, as well as the resignation of its previous executive director, Jim Dukes, in April.

Members of the previous board told WFAE that Dukes kept them in the dark about the organization's financial struggles, and said they didn't learn about the $200,000 owed in back rent until last November, when the property manager contacted them directly.

In February, the organization received a verbal notice to evict, according to an email newsletter to member artists.

Last month, the organization elected a new six-person board of directors and named Kate McAllister, a former director of operations for the art league, as its new interim executive director.

'It does very important work'

The upheaval has shaken some member artists, who pay the organization to rent studio space inside its building.

Bo Caudill, a local attorney and president of the organization's new board of directors, said some artists have moved out of its studios over the last several months. He hopes they might now return.

"Our hope is that with these announcements, and with an understanding that we're restoring some stability, that those folks might consider coming back and giving us a new chance," he said.

The group is planning to host a membership meeting at its Raleigh Street building on May 29 at 5:30 p.m.

Caudill said current and previous member artists, and other members of Charlotte's artistic community were invited to attend and meet the art league's new executive director and board of directors, and get answers to any questions they might have.

"If folks are out there and they love the arts, or if art — especially visual art — has impacted their life in a meaningful way, we hope that they will consider joining CAL or donating to CAL," Caudill said. "We think it does very important work for artists here in the community."

The nonprofit was founded in 1965 and bills itself as Charlotte's oldest nonprofit art gallery and organization. It moved from its original home on Camden Road into its Raleigh Street building in 2022.

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Updated: May 20, 2024 at 3:47 PM EDT
This article was updated to include the fact that the Charlotte Art League will also vacate its front gallery in addition to two event spaces.
Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal