{9} The Gallery Hosting Emergency Fundraiser to Avoid Closure

{9} The Gallery Hosting Emergency Fundraiser to Avoid Closure
Jeremiah Toller

Things are not looking good for {9} The Gallery.

The Grand Avenue arts venue that operates as a gallery, coffee shop, and community events space could be closing up shop in the near future. That is, unless owner Laura Dragon gets the necessary funds to keep it in business. Dragon has been late in paying her rent since January and did not pay her rent for the months of August, September, and October. While she now has the proper funds to pay off the past three months, she doesn't have enough to the cover the total cost of late and legal fees, which she says were brought to her attention when she was served with papers from her landlord's attorney, J. Mark Heldenbrand, on Friday, October 24.

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Dragon takes full responsibility for not paying her rent. "Things have been really tough on Grand," she says. But she blames a lack of communication on her landlord's end for the additional expenses. "They never picked up the phone. I never received any notices or I would have responded to them. They never even came by the shop."

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Jackalope Ranch's calls to Dragon's landlord at Horan Realty and J. Mark Heldenbrand were not returned as of this writing.

In an effort to raise the funds necessary to keep her two-year-old business afloat, Dragon will be hosting an emergency fundraising event from 6 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, October 29, at the gallery. The event will feature a silent auction with donated works by local artists, a gift basket raffle, and an open mic for poets, comedians, and musicians.

While Dragon doesn't intend for the event to turn a major profit, she does hope for enough to keep her gallery open.

"I am not in business on Grand to make a killing financially and go travel to Europe for three months," says Dragon. "I never expect {9} to be a huge financial windfall, but it's something that I love. As long as it supports itself, I'm good. I love what I do and I love what I'm able to bring to the community."

Dragon has also set up a fundraising page at www.gofundme.com. Any artist interested in contributing their work for the silent auction can contact Dragon by e-mailing info@9thegallery.com or calling 602-465-3264.

Editor's note: This post has been edited from its original version to clarify that since January 2014 Dragon has paid her rent late, with the exception of the past three months, when her rent was unpaid.

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