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ANOTHER ARTIST AND SMALL BUSINESS
EVICTED FROM OUR COMMUNITY

New York | October 6, 2006

Hi—If you live in the East Village/Lower East Side of have/had friends who reside here, you are probably already familiar with the story that unfolds below. I am asking that you read this email and either sign the letter below or stop by Peter's and sign the petition. Our market driven economy is taking a toll on neighborhood residents and artists. Peter and his wife are long time residents of this neighborhood (over 40 years), and he has been an active artist as well as friend and mentor to many other artists here. We need to let elected officials know that we need some policy implemented to keep things like this from happening. Please help if you can. Contact Rosie Mendez's office, the Mayor's office, HPD and demand that something be done to help artists to remain in New York—we are part and parcel of what has made the revitalization of New York possible. People come from all over the world to see the art in New York City—the loft law was passed to preserve artists's lofts in SoHo-so what is being done to protect the artists of the East Village/Lower East Side? The Villager bemoans the loss of Chuck Close's light on Bond Street. What about the loss of Peter's space in toto and his equipment because his HFDC co-op landlord has given him a week's notice to move.? There is something wrong with this scenario and if we do not respond as a community we too will go the same route. Please help if you can and support Peter Leggieri, a fellow artist.

Begin forwarded message:

From: "anna sawaryn" <villageanna@hotmail.com>
Date: October 5, 2006 11:37:57 AM PDT
To: eastvillageanna@yahoo.com
Subject: Another artist and small business evicted from our community.

Re: Eviction of artist mentor Peter Leggieri from Peter Leggieri Sculpture Supply

answer Company, Inc. by 415 E. 12th Street HDFC as of September 30, 2006.

Another artist and small business is being evicted from our community. Support the 12th Street Block Association by signing the letter they drafted.

Please stop at 415 E. 12 Street on Friday October 6 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. and sign the petition.

OR

Sign the attached letter and drop it off for Peter Leggieri
at Kurowycky Butcher Shop on 1st Avenue between 7th Street and Saint Marks
Place by Saturday October 7  afternoon.

Anne Moss
425 E. 12th Street #2E
New York, NY 10009

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Commissioner Shaun Donovan,
Housing Preservation and Development
Commissioner Kate D. Levin,
Department of Cultural Affairs

September 25, 2006
Re: Eviction of artist mentor Peter Leggieri from Peter Leggieri Sculpture Supply

Company, Inc. by 415 E. 12th Street HDFC as of September 30, 2006.

To Whom It May Concern:

I thought that the taxpayers money utilized to develop low-income housing in the East Village would preclude your agency from evicting vitally important artist resources that have always been a part of our community. I am specifically referring to Peter Leggieri, who is 64 years old and has been a major positive force in our neighborhood for 41 years and has provided vital and essential services to the artists colony. Peter is the last sculpture tool manufacturer in New York City and one of the last highly-skilled stone artisans who supplies thousands of artists working in stone, clay and wood carving with special tools and services.

Peter put the East Village on the world map when he was an owner, editor and publisher of the East Village Other newspaper, a journal that produced two Pulitzer Prize winners and leading cartoonists, including Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman. He led the Artists Rights Movement in the late 1970s a the representative of a coalition of 35 artist groups in the five boroughs, which under his leadership successfully established the CETA artist project for New York City to make jobs available in the public service for visual, performing and literary artists who were both unemployed and living below poverty level. It was the first time such a project had been established since the legendary WPA art projects of the1930s. As the president of the Foundation for the Community of Artists, Peter was also directly involved in work that led to the publication of seven resource books now used in art schools and colleges throughout the nation, including seminal works on artists and the law by Tad Crawford as well as titles such as Health Hazards in the Arts by Dr. Michael McCann, among other titles.  As chairman and founding board member of the Center for Safety in the Arts, Peter led a pioneering effort to inform artists of health and safety hazards involved in the performing and visual arts.   He has also served as a mentor/teacher of students from various metropolitan colleges which did not have stone sculpting courses. Over the years he has had more than forty such students from schools including SUNY Purchase, Parsons Design, Cooper Union, the University of Hartford and La Guardia High School. He performed this service as an obligation he felt to his art form and, as is his custom, without pay.

In addition, Peter was responsible for founding the 12th Street A-1 Block Association and for closing five crack houses that used to exist on East 12th Street. He also led the move to transform the lot adjacent to the East Side Community School, formally known as PS 60, that was by law supposed to be the school playground but had stood vacant for 25 years and was infested with prostitutes, junkies, garbage, rats and violence. Peters ideas were the inspiration for the design concept, and he was instrumental in the building of the Green Thumb childrens playground, garden and park. It is a park that the Board of Education and the Mayor now proudly hold up to the world as their shining example of enlightened treatment of school children in an urban environment. Without Peter, it would have been a typical Board of Education parking lot, if they ever got around to it.

Evicting a long-term tenant who has played such a vital and beneficial role in our lives is bad enough; but to evict him because of the senseless and unwarranted greed of people exploiting the purpose of the HDFC program is an abomination. Many of the residential tenants who live in the same HDFC building at 415 E. 12th Street have been forced to pay market-rate rents, although the building cost only $12,000 to purchase in 1992. For that reason we begin to question the rules governing housing stock intended to provide affordable co-op or rental apartments for low income New Yorkers that ends up being a building in which most of the units are rentals at market rates. Is that what the city means by low income-affordable? To my knowledge, even when resale restrictions expire, an HDFC is always supposed to remain an HDFC--the purpose of an HDFC building never expires.

Peter Leggieri has had to endure annual 10% increases in his studio rent since the mid-90s and was expected to pay an astounding increase of nearly 50% as of October 1, 2006. When you check your own records to verify how much he has paid since he first moved into the studio in 1990, you will find it is more than 30 times the cost of the building. Peter has been given one week to move out, forcing him to abandon tools, equipment and supplies. To give him only one week for such a huge undertaking makes you worse. To have New York lose him will cause a collapse of a vital sub-structure of support to hundreds of sculptors. Most important, HDFCs actions reaffirm the citys central role in destroying the New York artists' colony.

We therefore urge you to investigate this matter of 415 E. 12th Street HDFC, to immediately put a stop to this senseless eviction and permit Peter Leggieri to remain in his sculpture supply studio for the rest of his life--I suggest, without paying any rent.

For this urgent matter, your swift and immediate action is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Anne Moss
For East 12th Street A-1 Block Association

P.S.  You will receive In the mail a copy of this letter with a petition signed by members of the community.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
Fax: 212-788-2460

Commissioner Shaun Donovan
Housing Preservation and Development
100 Gold Street
New York, NY 10038
Fax: 212-863-8071

Commissioner Kate D. Levin
Dept. of Cultural Affairs
31 Chambers Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10007
Fax: 212-643-7780

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