Victory Arts Center

1903 - Fort Worth, Texas

rtSpace Texas parent, Historic Landmarks, Inc., was created in 1993 as a result of community involvement and interest in saving the former Our Lady of Victory Convent and school building and other underutilized historic buildings. ArtSpace Texas has been formed for the purpose of purchasing and redeveloping this and other historic properties for conversion to housing and studio space for artists. Non-profit status has been chosen because this endeavor is community based and concerned with providing housing which is affordable. Portions of the funds required to initially purchase and eventually rehabilitate the building and grounds will be donated.

The historic Our Lady of Victory Building is a former boarding school and convent that has significantly contributed to the growth, development, and quality of life of the City of Fort Worth and the Southside. As a non-profit entity, Artspace Texas' vision for the revitalization and adaptive reuse of the building will be to continue this influence with a new venue, incorporating neighborhood revitalization and private, non-secular usage for the adapted building. The design and reconstruction will be carried out under the guidelines of the Texas Historic Commission, the National Trust and the National Parks Service in order to achieve listing on the National Registry of Historic Places and to capture historic tax credits to facilitate the realization of these projects.

Living and working space for artists will provide economic revitalization and cultural opportunity for the community. At all times, the responsibility of Artspace Texas is to be a good neighbor and an important part of the community; this responsibility is fundamental to its mission.

Construction is scheduled to start February 2001.


More about Victory Arts:

This 68,0000 square foot Gothic building, designed by the famous architects Sanguinet & Statts has long been recognized as an irreplaceable part of the historic building fabric of Fort Worth. In the late 1970's, the Order of The Sisters of Saint Mary, faced with an aging and dwindling membership, faced a major dilemma. They needed an infirmary far more than they needed a convent building which was half school, but no longer used as a school. The High School and Junior College had been moved to other sites in the early 1960's. The code requirements for an infirmary forced them to determine that they could not afford to renovate the building and they placed it and its 22 acres on the market. Due to the decline in the surrounding community they were not able to find a buyer for the site. In 1987 they decided to move out and abandon the building, selling anything of value out of it, door, frames, stained glass windows, hardware, fixtures, fittings, cabinetry and trim. They then attempted to sell the property, to no avail. In 1991 they applied to the City for a demolition permit, which they were granted. Upon hearing this, the neighborhood petitioned the City Council for a solution. The Council and the Historic Preservation group persuaded the Sisters to delay for a year to attempt to find a savior. At this point Mr. Boothe became involved at the invitation of several of the principals involved in the effort, and ended up forming Historic Landmarks, Inc., a nonprofit historic redevelopment company. The building and 3 acres, with an option on 3 additional acres, was purchased in 1993.

Today the organization, working under the d.b.a. ArtSpace Texas, is renovating the building into live/work space for artists, providing apartments, studios, and a community events center. The Part I & Part II submissions have been completed for National Historic recognition. The artists are pre­leasing and preparing themselves to occupy the building; upon completion. The Sheriff's public service work force is working on the demolition portion of the project. The construction documents and estimates are underway and the final development phase is underway. The project is developing into a model of City, Nonprofit, Neighborhood, and Private cooperation. The $6.5 million budget is within 90 days of being in place, utilizing mixed financing, including private bank, HUD and historic tax credits. The Bank Commitment letters have been received. As nearly as we can tell, this is the first project of its kind in Texas.


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