Beyond Baroque Foundation director Fred Dewey announced that he and a number of other foundation principals met in Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s Westside office Monday, January 22nd, to sign a 25-year lease with the City of Los Angeles for the former Venice City Hall, 681 Venice Blvd. in Venice.
A similar lease for space in the old building has also been given to L.A. Theatre Works (LATW).
“The lease maps out the spaces the two organizations currently occupy and sets this structure in place for two and a half decades,” Dewey said. “That means preserving our theater, bookstore, archive, gallery, offices, and closets. LATW preserves its offices, the tower room, and a storage room.
“It has been a long, arduous struggle and it is now over, with a much-sought-after and favorable conclusion for Beyond Baroque. It is probably, given the [economic] climate, nothing short of a miracle, and just in time.”
Beyond Baroque, founded in 1968 by George Drury Smith, has occupied the City Hall building since 1979, when the City of Los Angeles closed offices it had there and leased it to Beyond Baroque. The building dates from the first decade of the last century, when it was built by Venice founder Abbot Kinney to serve as city hall for what was then a separate city, Venice of America. The Venice community has been part of the City of Los Angeles since the mid-1920s, when the building’s exterior was drastically altered by the city from its original California Mission style.
Beyond Baroque is a nonprofit community literary and cultural center, offering regular writers’ workshops and readings. It also has a small bookstore and maintains literary archives.
L.A. Theatre Works was founded in 1974, with a mission to enrich the cultural life of the national community “through the use of innovative technologies to produce and preserve significant works of dramatic literature on audio, and to assure the widest public access to these great works,” according to organization officials.