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Monday, August 10, 2009

Eyedrum hopes to drum up support

click to enlarge BUILDING BLOCK: Without quick financial support, Eyedrum could be forced to close its doors.
  • BUILDING BLOCK: Without quick financial support, Eyedrum could be forced to close its doors.

Eyedrum, Atlanta’s flagship venue for experimental art, music, and theater, will close or relocate this year if emergency financial support doesn’t cover a growing budget deficit. In an effort to stave off rising overhead debt, a massive art auction featuring works donated from more than 100 local artists, including Kojo Griffin, Lilian Blades and Angus Galloway, will be held Fri., Aug. 14. Robert Cheatham, Eyedrum’s executive director, points out that the scramble for funding is nothing new. “We’ve been in dire need since the minute we moved in,” he says with a laugh.

While operating on a tight budget for the last 10 years, the nonprofit has never missed a rent payment on its Grant Park warehouse space until two months ago. Cheatham says landlord Braden Fellman has been negotiable and easy to work with, but the late fees are pushing operating costs to an unsustainable level. “We want to work with them. We don’t want to leave our space,” stresses Woody Cornwell, who founded the group with Marshall Avett in 1998. How an agreement or solution may be reached is still unclear, especially considering the current economic climate and Eyedrum's declining income from event rentals and attendance in the last year.

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(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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