Cold Day, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"
After being offered a one-year lease for my Esplanade studio the past two years, it was a surprise when the Esplanade leasing agent requested a three or five year lease. I thought it over carefully, and as Dreama Tolle Perry would say, put on my big girl panties, and responded positively to a three-year lease request.
THEN, was totally taken aback to receive a phone call telling me that my lease would not be renewed. Not because I'm not a good tenant--"you are a model tenant, I was told--but because Sunshine Studios did not "fit the profile" of the vision of some marketing people up in Maryland, where the owners of the Esplanade reside. They think someone selling soft goods or sunglasses would be more appropriate in the space.
I became mildly (wildly?) hysterical as undesirable options flashed through my brain. Where would I go? Was it time to retire? How could they evict me without even giving me first refusal? What about the Everglades? Didn't they see the value of art? Didn't my gallery provide diversity and interest? What to do, what to do?
The space is a perfect size for one artist. It's a good fit, and I love it. I'm not ready to retire! After 24 hours of weighing and rejecting a number of options, I visited some of the other Esplanade tenants and asked them if they appreciated having me as a neighbor, would they, please, put in a good word for me. They DID, and I'm very grateful to them. Then I called the leasing agent and calmly requested a reconsideration of their decision.
Granted. Reprieve. Now I'm busy writing a marketing plan to show that my being in the space makes sense for their business as well as my own. It will be presented to unknown people in a far-away place as a request to become an exception to their plan. I've got my fingers crossed, and I'll keep you posted!