In a few weeks, Commerce Street will be short one gallery space.
Confluence Community Center, a nonprofit gallery/community center, is moving out of its rented space at 520Commerce and into Muse Meridian, the new moniker for Wichita’s former Metro-Meridian High School.
Phil Sanders, director of Confluence, said the decision was made because the Commerce space was too small, which limited Confluence’s mission.
“We’ve just outgrown where we’re at, and we’re expanding into this new space where we’ll have more room to actually fulfill our mission.”
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The space, which opened this spring in 1,250 square feet at 520 S. Commerce, hosted events such as poetry readings, rehearsals for various community groups, studio drawing sessions and various other events free of charge. It also displayed art on its walls, frequently by young artists.
It was a popular Final Friday stop, located just north of the well-trodden Fisch Haus gallery. Food trucks were often parked outside its door.
Confluence will retain studio space in the basement of 520Commerce, which are rented to makers and artists.
In July, Vanya Designs opened adjacent to Confluence and erected a partial wall separating the two spaces.
Moving to Muse Meridian, 301 S. Meridian, will not only provide more space for the nonprofit, but it will also be cheaper than Commerce Street, where rents continue to rise.
“Our overhead will go down significantly, so we can actually be putting a lot of money into programs,” Sanders said. “It’s a more accommodating space.”
In May, Erik and Bree Maybee purchased the former Metro-Meridian High School from the school district for $275,000.
Confluence will manage about 20,000 square feet at the facility – including a coffee bar, meeting rooms, dance studios and various other rooms – and after a few years, the couple plans to renovate the upstairs portion of the building into apartments, Sanders said.
Artists can rent studio space at the new building, just as was possible at the old Confluence space, and vendors can rent space to sell their wares.
Confluence plans to move to the new space in November and December, re-launching in 2018.
It will host a “Monster Market” Final Friday event this week at 520Commerce, featuring handmade goods from local vendors and food trucks.
For more information on Confluence Community Center, and for updates on the move, visit www.facebook.com/confluencecommunity.