After imploring city officials for a 30-day extension to remain in the Ivanhoe Wheelhouse at least until the annual Art Walk concludes, the Ivanhoe Artists Mosaic is being allowed to remain at the Spruce Street building until end of June.
Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres granted the extension on Wednesday afternoon. “We were very pleasantly surprised,” said Ken Wallo, vice-president of the mosaic. He said the group expected the calls for extra time to fall on deaf ears.
The mosaic will remain at the building until June 30th, 2015, said Wallo. He said the group made immense amount of preparations, including a plan display five sound sculptures by internationally renowned sculptors Harry Bertoia and his son Val Bertoia.
Wallo received a phone call from the city’s law director Domenick Stampone allowing them to remain in the building for an extra month.
On Tuesday evening, the group went before the city council, to beseech city officials to remain at the building until the Art Walk, the largest art event in northern New Jersey, passes.
Stampone on Tuesday said the city launched legal action against the group in October, but since then the organization has sought extensions and adjournments that exhausted months and dragged on the eviction process.
On April 17th, 2015, the city finally managed to obtain an eviction order from a Passaic County superior court judge.
“If we shut them out it’s going to be empty for a while,” said Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward councilwoman. The city will expedite the request for proposal (RFP) process to ensure the building does not sit idle for a long period, said city officials.
Some council members want the city to appoint one of its agencies to manage the property and allow various groups to use the building on an as-needed basis. Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, suggested the city’s cultural affairs division take over the building to allow other groups to use it after they submit an application.
“We should not be entering into landlord-tenant relationship with any group, that building should remain under the authority of the city of Paterson, and then provided as a venue for doing various things once the group has made an application to do so,” said Morris.
He said once the city enters into a lease agreement with any one group it will be tough to get them out of the building. Any group that wants to use the space should be able to, said Morris.
The mosaic also suggested the city take over the building through its Grass Roots Arts Commission (GRAC). The group submitted a proposal to the city that would keep it a resident organization while the GRAC, which currently has no offices, would have control over the space near the Great Falls National Park.
“I think the best possible solution for this is for the GRAC to manage it,” said Wallo. He said the mosaic intends to submit a proposal once the city opens up the process.