Dorchester Art Project announced Thursday it had effectively doubled its space after receiving permission to overtake the first floor of its current building.
That gives the gallery and flexible arts organization an additional 6,000 square feet to use for musical performances, community events, photo and video shoots, and artist studios. The expanded Dorchester Ave. spot opens to the public Oct. 1.
“We are happy to announce that the vacant space below us will soon become a part of DAP,” the organization wrote in a Facebook post. “This year has been a wild ride so far … but with your support we have managed to continue to grow our operations. And it’s not over yet!”
DAP moved into the building’s second floor — already around 5,000 square feet — more than two years ago. The group recently signed another three-year lease, but the first floor has sat empty ever since DAP’s arrival.
That’s about to change.
Organizers plan to shift the DAP storefront to the vacant space, where they can sell branded merchandise, records, and art. The group would also like to create additional communal and private studios on the first floor. In the future, DAP leaders hope to raise enough funds to open a dedicated spot for livestreaming.
A Google form asking community members how the first floor should be utilized is currently circulating via social media. More than 50 people have responded so far, gallery director Emma Leavitt confirmed.
Programming director Sam Potrykus said DAP’s growth is a much-needed move for Boston, which has suffered under the loss of arts spaces for decades. During the pandemic, DAP has avoided evicting studio artists by fund-raising for rent relief.
“We’ve had a really positive impact on our community," Potrykus said. "The need for a home for arts is so great, and this helps close the void that’s been growing in Boston. With studios being turned into condos ... we need this.”
The expansion has been well-received online.
“Amid all the recent venue shutdowns this is so good to hear,” one Twitter user wrote. “Dorchester Art Project has given so many Boston artists an accessible, inclusive space over the last few years.”
DAP will occupy the first floor through a month-to-month lease, while paying discounted rent to its landlord. Organizers hope to eventually sign a long-term agreement once the collective achieves better financial stability.
“Building out private studio spaces is a great way to maintain sustainability,” Leavitt said. “And we’ll be fund-raising. We know how good this space can be.”
Diti Kohli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_