September 13th, 2016 (Bend, Oregon) - The Armature, one of Bend's most beloved small event venues and home to local artisans, will permanently close its doors at the end of October. Manager Tambi Lane cited the increase in the building's lease rate as the reason for the closure.
"It's heartbreaking to close after the amazing support we've received from the community these past three and half years. But we can't absorb this kind of increase as a business, " says Lane. "I don't know how artists are going to find affordable studios in Bend. It doesn't look like this market is going to get any easier."
Located on Scott Street in the Old Ironworks district next to the Workhouse, The Armature is best known for hosting Bend's popular Last Saturday events as well as gallery openings, public talks, yoga classes, trunk shows, private receptions, and studio photography. The business draws a consistent flow of out of town tourists and local visitors alike.
"It's a huge loss for Bend," said Jennifer Houston of The Red Balloon Project. "The Armature brings a unique urban vibe to the city that will be missed. If artists keep losing their studios it will have a long term impact on Bend's cultural diversity. As a community, we need to find a solution."
Both The Armature and the neighboring Workhouse have given local artisans and makers an affordable place to create their work and share it with the public. Many recognize the similarity between the Old Ironworks and areas of Portland's Pearl District, where an influx of artists began transforming warehouses and industrial spaces into studios and galleries in the early 1990s. Bend's former industrial areas continue to experience a similar transformation, though the transition often results in higher lease rates that ultimately drive some businesses out.
The Armature will host a closing reception on October 29th from 6-9 pm in recognition of its artists and contributing community members. The event is free and open to the public.