Berkeley Shuts Down Amazing Art Space, The Shipyard

The Shipyard

Michael Michael has just informed me that The City of Berkeley has sent Jim Mason, the owner of The Shipyard, a “vacate and abate” notice. Jim now has no choice but to shut down this amazing art facility, which consists of 27 shipping containers in an 11,000 square foot outdoor space. The Shipyard has been home to countless large-scale art projects & installations, events and alternative energy experimentation, including a Survival Research Labs show (2001), How To Destroy The Universe Festival (2004 & 2005) and Burning Man projects The Clock Works (2005), Neverwas Haul (2006) and The Mechabolic (2007).

A sad day indeed and an end to an era of amazing creativity and alternative energy research. The City of Berkeley has sent Jim Mason, the owner of The Shipyard, a “vacate and abate” notice. Jim now has no choice but to shut down this amazing art facility.

This is a terrible blow to the Bay Area arts community. The Shipyard artists are being forced to vacate in 3 days (today is day #3), so they are franticly working on packing up their containers to move to a new location in Oakland. Berkeley is also hitting them with hefty fines of $2500/day if they miss their 3 day move out deadline. I’ll update this post with more information as it comes in. If you have any more information on this situation, please let us know in the comments.

Here are some documents related to this dire situation:

- Jim Mason’s letter to the City of Berkeley
- Jim Mason’s tentative plan of action

More coverage:

- SFGate: 5-11-2007 (Carolyn Jones)
- SFGate: 5-12-2007 (Carolyn Jones)
- O’Reilly Radar (Dale Dougherty)
- Boing Boing (David Pescovitz)
- Make Magazine (Phillip Torrone)
- SFBG :: Politics Blog (Steven T. Jones)
- KTVU (Diane Guerrazzi)
- MetaFilter
- Lee.org

UPDATE 1: The Shipyard’s architect Les Young just sent us this update on The Shipyard, which includes some background information regarding the situation.

As of now 5/11/07 1:00, on the third day of the three day warning, Jim has not received a response to his reply to Berkeley. The City has shut off the power, making the move and any possible repairs even more difficult. At this time, I have not heard anything about inspectors or police showing up. [more]

UPDATE 2: The Shipyard website has been updated with information related to their shutdown, including information on how people can help out.

If you want to help the residents of the Shipyard, head on down to the Shipyard. Bring food (food=beer in Shipyard land), coffee and massive trucks able to move shipping containers. Monetary donations gladly accepted.

UPDATE 3: Michael Michael has just informed me that the Berkeley city council has called for an emergency meeting on Monday, May 21st to address the Shipyard situation.

photo credit: babaLou

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