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Art Club proposes new building by Museum

STORY BY MICHELLE GENZ, (Week of March 21, 2013)

Council member Tracy Carroll wonders whether putting more art studios on city-owned land in Riverside Park is in the best interest of the public when it already has access to an education wing full of them in the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

That was one of her first questions when she saw the Vero Beach Art Club’s letter to the city that lays out plans to build its own building, separate from – but next to – the museum.  The two are co-tenants of the land, but the museum owns its building and charges the Art Club space use fees to hold meetings and events.

The city would have to OK any such proposal since it owns the land in Riverside Park.

“My concern when I looked at the floor plan is that the footprint looks very small. And it seems like the center will be a very large workspace-slash-studio, and the Museum of Art has already taken that on,” Carroll said.

“It really offers a lot of classes and activities that the community can take part in. So I am concerned about the two entities providing exactly the same function in the same area of the park.”

She is also concerned about parking. “We already have a situation where we have a lack of parking on weekends. I cannot picture where the building will be situated and where the parking will be, if not the retention pond.”

The letter, sent by the Art Club’s new president, Mary Ellen Koser, said it was looking to build on the northeast corner of the leased land, and said it is already in talks about this with the museum.

 The Art Club, started in 1936, has lived somewhat in the shadow of the fast-growing museum, but it has a powerful membership of more than 400 artists who always intended to have a space of their own.