Baltimore Clayworks spent the last six months trying to off its debt, which has tallied up to over $1 million. On Monday, the nonprofit announced that it would shut down after 37 years in operation.
Clayworks will file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidate all of its assets to pay off debts. Last winter, the organization announced that it would sell its gallery and studio buildings in Mount Washington. Itineris, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that offers adults with autism job training, was going to buy the facilities for $3.7 million, but the deal fell through last week.
On Monday, board president Kathy Holt said in a statement: “We understand the impact this will have on the larger arts community. It is exceedingly painful to those that Clayworks has served. We are all grief-stricken with the result.”
In an effort to restore cash flow, Clayworks tried to raise $50,000, but was only able to generate about 10 percent of that amount. The Clayworks Community Campaign raised $200,000 in pledges and donations and offered the money to the board to buy time and ease financial burden. Clayworks declined the offer, saying it would not avert bankruptcy.
“It was not enough, nor in enough time, to stave off bankruptcy,” Holt said in an interview. “An infusion of an immediate $200,000 would have allowed us to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, giving us time to continue operations and restructure, to continue to seek a buyer for our property(ies), to work with the steering committee and potentially, to survive. Without it, and with many creditors, now being insolvent, we are facing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy this week.”
Since the Clayworks buildings are closed, it is unclear how long it will take for artists to retrieve their works.