This is where artist Andrea Phillips has lived and worked for 50 years. It has a lovely wooden storefront where the artist has made a lovely gallery. The entire interior is collaged, wood burned, etc., and uniquely reflects her Buddhist way of life and yoga practice. The building owner's death and a gift to a church led to the sale of the property. The transaction did not allow for the tenant of 50 years to make a bid. Plans call for the building to be destroyed and replaced with new homes. (December 2012)
This is the home of a wonderful woman and artist. People shouldn't be forced out of their homes after being there for 44 years! Andrea is a positive part of the artistic community and should be left alone. This home is a landmark museum of sorts that should be forever. Maybe we will all link arms and not let Andrea be moved! (December 2012)
The house dates back to the late 1800s and is the only storefront of its kind remaining in the area. It was the original West Brighton library, and transitioned into various stores throughout the decades. A prolific fabric and collage artist, Andrea Phillips started renting the property as a live/work space when she was 27. She's now 71 and has really made the house a work of art over the past 44 years. Andrea has mosaics, collages and paintings all throughout the space. In the summer, she and her son Saint have played music in the front room encouraging people to stop and listen. Many people stop to talk with Andrea at her stoop or are invited in for tea. Andrea lives simply and still uses a rotary dial phone. She doesn't own a computer or a television.
So the place is many things. It's noteworthy for its historical value and architecture, and it's special because of the art created there for so many years. The 2-story house is striking with its big storefront windows in the front and dark brown wooden shingles. A small carriage house is still in the back yard. Andrea has made collages in the windows and displays some of her pieces in the window including a painting of Harriet Tubman, by whom she feels empowered.
This year Andrea's landlord (whom she had never met because he lived in California) passed away, and he willed the house to a neighboring school. The school quickly sold the property for cash without discussing this with Andrea. We all fear that the house was possibly purchased by a contractor who will tear it down for new development or parking lot space. The only thing that Andrea has received in writing is a notice that says that she has to vacate in 30 days.
People from the preservation league have been trying to make Andrea's house a landmark but have thus far been unsuccessful. The best case scenario would be for the new owners to continue renting the building to Andrea. I want to nominate this building to at least have people recognize its value. (December 2012)
An artistic and spiritual haven for many people in the West Brighton, New Brighton community. There are so few places of comfort and support in this area. Andrea was a teacher with the Department of Education for many years nurturing and providing art and creative inspiration to thousands of children and their families. She is a self-taught artist working in collage as well as arts and crafts. The house has a distinguished old storefront facing the street and contains a gallery with picturesque items in the window. It is a gem on a street of mundane businesses. Let's challenge the realtors and developers who will tear down an old dignified home to build ugly apartments and stores. More than ever we need places of warmth and genuine creative energy in our community. (December 2012)