Brady District Art Gallery Asked To Move


Friday, December 10th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


An art gallery opening in Tulsa's Brady District Thursday night is actually a closing of sorts. Living Arts of Tulsa has been asked to move, so a restaurant located next door can expand. Artists were among the earlier residents of the Brady District. Now that business in the Brady area is growing, some feel it's unfair to move the artists group out of its present location.

Development of the Brady area began in the mid 1980's. Many hoped the area near downtown, lined with inviting old brick buildings, would grow into a thriving arts district as has been the case in other cities. It was slow to happen at first, but in recent months there's been a marked increase in new Brady businesses.

Louis Lynch first brought his violin shop to the area be close to downtown theatres. "I visually wanted to be here,” Lynch recalled. “And after I came in, other things started to happen including the restaurants, the clubs, the artists coalitions and the galleries.

Several Brady District buildings are int he process of being renovated for restaurants and clubs scheduled to open in the coming months. Living Arts of Tulsa believes artists helped generate that interest. As early Brady residents, galleries struggled to create enthusiasm for an arts district. Director Steve Liggett says artists are often first to move into older areas, building up a creative atmosphere. "Then they're asked to leave, because you know it's time to up the rent and get some restaurants and bars in the area,” said Liggett. “That's where we are right now."

The News on Six was unable to reach developer David Sharp, who asked Living Arts to move to allow for expansion of Caz's Restaurant. Liggett says Sharp has been good to Living Arts over the years, and has offered space for the art gallery at 3rd and Kenosha Avenue. However, the group is concerned about starting all over in another undeveloped area. "We feel like it has real possibilities,” Liggett explained. “It's another situation where we'll have to be the pioneers in some way."

The Tulsa Chamber of Commerce will soon release results of a study that was just completed that asked people what they want in downtown Tulsa. "What has come out of the study have been several different areas, but in particular, some have mentioned arts and entertainment,” said chamber spokesman Suzanne Stewart.

Tom Butcher, who is scheduled to reopen his Impression's restaurant and three other restaurants in Tulsa soon, says Brady businesses want the artists to stay. "We've talked about it with the owner of most of these buildings here,” he said. “We'd like to keep the artists and add a few more shops like antiques and clothing stores. "

Liggett says the arts are respected in Tulsa, but not as much as the bottom line. He says Living Arts will keep working to change that way of thinking.