It’s a sad day for the James North arts scene as the infamous and well-loved Artword Artbar has just announced it will officially close its doors later this year.
An unassuming treasure tucked away just off of James North on Colbourne Street for the last 10 years, the Artbar has been a bustling bohemian home to countless plays, dance jams, poetry slams, concerts, literary events, and artistic gatherings.
Owners Ron Weihs and Judith Sandiford, who previously owned and operated Toronto’s Artword Theatre, felt the timing of the closure was right; especially as the James North community continues to gentrify and rent prices continue climbing furiously toward unsustainable heights for smaller businesses and not-for-profit arts organizations.
Big news for Artword Artbarhttps://www.thespec.com/news-story/9581126-artword-artbar-closure-a-sign-of-changes-in-the-james-street-north-arts-scene-in-hamilton
A cold call from an interested buyer back in June sealed the deal, with Weihs and Sandiford striking a deal for an undisclosed amount with a client who sought the building as an office space for a local architectural design studio. The official closing date of the Artbar is scheduled for December 5th, just over a decade since the venue hosted the very first concert and over 1,000 subsequent performances in its intimate, inviting space.
The Artbar’s cozy stage, tucked in the corner of the warmly lit bar and surrounded by a jagged sea of strewn tables and chairs, regularly gave a home to so many local artists eager for a place share their work with the community.
The Artword Artbar will be bittersweetly missed by Hamilton artists and audiences alike, who are sad to say goodbye to Weihs’ and Sandiford’s well-loved arts hub, but grateful for the indelible role the venue has played in nurturing local art makers and for its positive impact on Hamilton’s one-of-a-kind cultural identity.
For those who want to take in one last show before the closure, a schedule of upcoming events is available on the Artword Artbar website.