Thursday, October 05, 2006

When Arts Organizations Attack...each other

Hat tip to Blog for Cambridge on this story of two mainstays of the artistic scene here in Cambridge. The Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center and The Dance Complex continue their bitter fued.

The fight between the two groups began three years ago when East Cambridge-based CMAC tried to evict the Dance Complex from its Central Square studios. Since then, the battle bursts back into public view every time the City Council passes a budget.

CMAC wanted the dance group to pay market rate for Odd Fellows Hall. The Dance Complex maintained that the only reason CMAC holds the deed to the building is because in 1993 the better-established CMAC had a credit rating while the then-fledgling Dance Complex did not. Dance Complex officials said they have acted in autonomy, finding tenants for the two retail stores on the first floor of the building and paying for renovations and the mortgage since 1993.

"They've invested no money in the building," said Rozann Kraus, founder and director of the Dance Complex. "The only money they've spent on the Dance Complex is the money they paid their lawyers to try to evict us."

Kraus said CMAC is trying to make a money grab for the building. CMAC's executive director, Shelley Neill, declined to comment when reached by phone.

The city is involved in the dispute because Cambridge provides annual funding to CMAC and helped fund the down payment for the Central Square building. According to a 1993 agreement, the city paid CMAC $75,000 for a down payment for the purchase of 536 Mass. Ave.

Can't we all just get along.

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