Arts District

New ownership at the Arts Factory calls to mind the good times and cantankerous bouts

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After selling the Arts Factory in December, Wes Myles is leaving his apartment in the old building, though his Studio West photography business will remain.
Illustration: Jon Estrada

It seems like only yesterday when Wes Myles was throwing half-eaten tomatoes at a food truck that parked too close to the Arts Factory, potentially stealing customers from his Bar+Bistro. Or when Myles was arguing with the late Jack Solomon about a Yaacov Agam sculpture slated for the Boulder Plaza Sculpture Park . Or that time (or several hundred of them) when he was screaming obscenities toward the city over permitting codes, or hosting bocce-ball tournaments on the patio and dodgeball games in the street, and awarding gift certificates to winning dogs at his "I Shih Tzu Not" Sunday event (full disclosure: my dog placed second in the obstacle course). And the annual Beckett Festival that was dear to his heart.

Imagining the Arts Factory without Myles is almost unimaginable. But having sold the retail building in December, he’s even moving out of his rooftop-view apartment this spring and into his new home at the Thunderbird, where he's taken on a new project. His Studio West photography business will remain.

When Myles first decided to sell what had been the longtime anchor of the Arts District, it seemed nobody would buy the jerry-rigged building likely built in the ’40s, particularly with Myles’ famous battles with the city over codes and permits. But after all its stops and starts, the Arts Factory was finally and quietly sold to an LLC headed up by Jonathan and Eshagh Kermani, who've been collecting neighboring properties, including Art Square and the row of Main Street storefronts north of Charleston.

"It was a nice run," says Myles who bought the building in the early ’90s long before there was an Arts District, and offered affordable rent to artists and galleries in the name of creative synergy. "But I'm out. The city wins. She got her way. I'm an artist. I will always be this person who creates events. I just keep looking to the future. I think I have to, otherwise I'd cry."

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