Manhattan’s Last Home for Artists Weathers Another Storm

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Excerpts from the article in Bedford and Bowery
by Sarah Krolewski
January 12, 2021

…“Westbeth was very concerned about everything” related to COVID-19, said Walter, a sentiment echoed by many other residents. “People here are vulnerable, but I feel very taken care of.”

Residents still stop for conversations with each other, standing six feet apart, and banter with staff at the front desk. Younger Westbethers feel compassion for their older counterparts, and disputes have died down. Most of the building’s usual events have moved online, attracting a steady stream of participants. Cominskie says he feels optimistic about the current board’s ability to meet future challenges. Westbeth appointed a new CEO, Ellen Salpeter, in 2019, a change that even long-time residents, accustomed to administrative shuffling, find promising. These are hazy signs that Westbeth may continue to survive, not fade away, and that it may at last be doing something right.”

” Months into the pandemic, masks are now mandatory in every part of Westbeth, and volunteers have continued to help the building’s most vulnerable residents with errands. The work of people like Dowling and Cominskie—a coterie of advocates fiercely committed to Westbeth—has helped to bring this community back from the brink.

“The collective energy of the building has been phenomenal,” said Cominskie, reached over the phone in October. “You’re going through this horrible period, and then somebody does something incredibly sweet—and you want to cry, it’s that wonderful.”

Even in the midst of so much grief and fear, Westbeth’s artists are continuing to make art, channeling these emotions into new and compelling work.”

““Our artists are the most important thing,” said Cominskie. “Without them, it’s just another apartment complex.”

Read the entire article which features interviews with Charles Seplowin, Karen Santry, Kate Walter, and George Cominskie.

“Our artists are the most important thing,” said Cominskie. “Without them, it’s just another apartment complex.”

Read the entire article which features interviews with George Cominskie, Karen Santry, Jack Dowling, Kate Walter and Charles Seplowin.
Bedfordl and Bowery about Westbeth

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