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St. Cecilia's Gallery, 21 Monitor Street, Greenpoint
St. Cecilia’s Gallery, 21 Monitor Street, Greenpoint

GREENPOINT ART CONVENT EVICTS ARTISTS

June 15, 2011

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For the last couple of years, the St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church on quiet Monitor Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, has been something of a local art oasis, hosting performances and art events and housing artists’ studios in the adjacent three-story convent. Most recently, earlier this June, the Brooklyn collaborative Art Book Club had something of a weekend-long fest, with exhibitions, performances, artists’ talks and something charmingly termed "a mixer." All this activity took place under the auspices of pastor James Krische, 52, otherwise known as Father Jim.

Now, all that is over. In an email, Father Jim announced that St. Cecilia’s can “no longer welcome artists onto the property for any exhibits” due to “a change in the administration, a policy review and the need to prepare some buildings for the real estate market.” The facility is to be vacated by July 31, 2011.

What happened? Father Jim has been transferred to another parish, and did not return a request for clarification. But presumably the art programming succumbed to a double threat. Parishioners complained about the assorted sacrileges -- whether mock black magic or more serious gender politics -- that accompanied the art programming. More significantly, no doubt, is the real estate angle, with developers certainly eyeing the property in an increasingly desirable neighborhood.

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