The InterUrban ArtHouse, a cultural anchor in downtown Overland Park for five years, has bought the post office building across the street to allow a major expansion of its arts programs and studio space.
Angie Hejduk, chief operating officer for the ArtHouse, said the acquisition of the 10,000 square-foot post office building at 8010 Conser St. was completed with the help of a $160,000 grant from the City of Overland Park.
Other funding for the purchase: Anonymous, $100,000; Regnier Foundation, $75,000; Howard Jacobson, $20,000; Hal Shapiro, $10,000, and Sunderland Foundation, $100,000.
Plans call for the U.S. Post Office to downsize its current operation and continue to operate a 1,000 square-foot retail facility in the building.
The remainder will be converted to a dozen studios, classroom and exhibition space, and a coffee shop. The loading dock will become a “community porch.” The move also will allow InterUrban to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
Hejduk estimated the cost of the renovation at about $500,000. A fundraising effort is underway. The InterUrban ArtHouse purchased the post office building debt-free and wants to complete the renovations without debt as well. The organization currently is in rented space across the street at 8001 Conser.
Owning its own space and avoiding the uncertainty of rent increases was one of the goals when Nicole Emanuel founded the ArtHouse.
“She came to Kansas City with her family and found that there were only a few artist spaces in this area,” Hejduk said. “She reached out to the community and over 100 artists showed up…by owning the building, we can control our rent.”
Hejduk said the InterUrban ArtHouse has been a contributor to the renaissance currently occurring in downtown Overland Park. The retail district is thriving and developments totaling more than 500 apartments are in the pipeline.
“We’ve been here for several years and feel we’ve been a key component of the cultural landscape,” she said. “That’s why people are developing and creating more living options.”
Hejduk also praised the City of Overland Park for its help acquiring the post office building.
“The city made a substantial endorsement of arts programming in this community,” she said.
The ArtHouse will continue utilizing its former rented space at 8001 Conser. A new middle school for the arts is in the works there as well, and students at the school are expected to take classes at InterUrban ArtHouse.
The first event planned for the new space will be a TEDxOverland Park grand opening on the theme of Systems. It will be March 2, 2017 at 2 p.m.