The Board of Directors of Lawndale Art and Performance Center, a multidisciplinary contemporary art center in Houston, has announced that the organization has purchased the lot adjacent to its building, located at 4900 Main Street.
In May 2021, outgoing Executive Director Stephanie Mitchell took the first steps to purchase the property by starting contract negotiations. Then, in November 2021, then-newly-appointed Executive Director Anna Walker continued to work with Lawndale’s Board to raise the funding needed to close on the property.
The lot was purchased from The Peckinpaugh Family Heirs for $1.6 million. According to the Harris County Appraisal District, the lot is 9,141 square feet, and was valued as of January 1, 2022 at $822,690. Ms. Walker told Glasstire that the property has sat vacant for decades and was last used as a small auto dealership in the 1960s.
In a press release announcing the purchase, current Lawndale Board Chair Jessica Seff said, “This momentous occasion has long been a strategic goal of ours, and we believe that this project will transform Lawndale. This work will help us grow our physical footprint and be a catalyst for change along Main Street, further engaging our community and exploring critical issues of our time through impactful art.”
Ms. Walker added, “As an institution, Lawndale’s primary focus is to anticipate and respond to the immediate and longer-term needs of the Houston and Gulf Coast Region cultural communities. To fully realize our vision for the 4900 Main Street lot, we will begin to develop a Master Plan for the property’s next phase of development.”
Ms. Walker told Glasstire that as Lawndale has ample exhibition space in its current historic building, the organization intends to use the new property to respond to the needs of the artist communities it serves. She explained that the first step in developing a Master Plan for the property will be to host conversations and listening sessions with local artists as well as Lawndale visitors and neighbors.
The Board is continuing to raise funds in support of the property acquisition. To date, it has raised 83% of the $1.6 million, with support from the Houston Endowment, The Brown Foundation, Inc.; The Cullen Foundation; John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation; MaryRoss Taylor; the Board; and many others.