EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (PIX11) — Twenty-five artists who were supposed to show their work at the East Village Art Collection in Manhattan are demanding answers after a new exhibit was abruptly canceled, leaving their artwork locked in the building.
“We came here with a purpose to get our work out there and to make something of ourselves, and they took advantage of that and they stole from us,” said Charlotte Art, a Flint, Michigan-based artist. “I had a lot riding on this. And I’m a mother of four. ‘How dare you’ is what I have to say.”
The exhibit was scheduled to run from Friday evening through Monday evening. Artists said they received notice of the change from Eventbrite, the company selling tickets to the exhibit, just minutes before it was set to open.
“We got a notification one minute before 7 p.m., and the event was at 7:30 last Friday,” said Melissa Driscol, whose brother-in-law’s art was part of the exhibit. “Not an email, not a phone call, not a text, just to tell the artists, ‘Hey, this event isn’t happening.”
“We’ve been calling and Instagramming and emailing and phone numbers have been disconnected,” said Christine Ditolvo, whose friend from Vermont had art in the exhibit. “It’s really sketchy.”
A sign on the East Village Art Collection’s door said the gallery is closed because of an unforeseen medical emergency, and that all artwork will be returned as soon as possible. The artists, however, said that sign was only posted Monday afternoon.
“Those were not up when we came to the event Friday or all weekend,” said Driscol.
The artists say they are now out thousands of dollars for their artwork and travel expenses, as well as a $500 submission fee. Charlotte Art said she is out at least $15,000.
All they want now is their work. “We just want the art back,” said Driscol.
PIX11 News reached out to the East Village Art Collection via email and Instagram but has not yet heard back.