Cancer Ward: Shuttered W’burg art center regulars blame closure on greed

The Brooklyn Paper
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There are three words that locked-out regulars say do not describe Williamsburg’s abruptly shuttered arts center.

Community work space.

Teachers and members of Third Ward, which closed without warning on Wednesday, say the do-it-yourself hub was driven into the ground by a greedy administration that focused more on expanding the brand than sticking to the Morgan Avenue complex’s original mission of teaching arts, leaving its classrooms and work spaces shiny shells of their former selves.

“In the last three months, the place was empty but it looked amazing,” said Ryan OConnor, who taught sculpture at Third Ward for four years.

Within the past year, Third Ward raised its membership and class prices and stopped offering lab or work hours with classes, driving craftspeople and pupils away in droves, and all the while putting investor money into renovations, O’Connor said.

Nor were there warnings of the sudden closure that left customers holding worthless memberships and teachers out of a job.

Third Ward sent e-mails announcing the shuttering to members on Wednesday night, hours after the news broke online, saying that all memberships were canceled and would not be refunded.