SIG Sauer Academy

The Artists Strike Back

This morning’s issue of the Boston Globe featured a prominent picture of Ops-Core front man David Rogers calmly standing in front of racks laden with protective helmets. Just below his picture was a small inset photo of a rather irate, finger pointing artist tenant of the Midway Studios facility also occupied by Ops-Core. The issues at hand seem to be bigger than Ops-Core. Really, it’s all about money. Many of the artist tenants of the facility signed on with the understanding that they could rent and then purchase their spaces. After developer Bob Kuehn died of a heart attack they began to find out that they couldn’t purchase their spaces after all. To further exacerbate matters, the building came at risk of foreclosure if the developers couldn’t find a renter for the large “theater” space in the basement. The nut was $3 million over 10 years and Ops-Core came in and offered to place their helmet assembly operation in that space. Their rent would come close to covering the needed funding. But, rather than looking at Ops-Core as a savior of their rent controlled apartments, they’ve decided to take out their frustration on them. Granted, their was an isolated incident when a work crew hired by Ops-Core to refinish floors failed to properly vent the space. Some of the residents chose to leave their spaces overnight due to the polyurethane fumes. But, that isn’t likely to happen again.

Ultimately, the Boston Globe story, “At Fort Point studios, artists feel betrayed” is really just gasoline on a fire. It doesn’t solve anything but rather fans the flames of discontent. Furthermore, it fails to mention the impact of the Ops-Core closure. 80 employees are collecting unemployment and it has caused a hiccup in the assembly of helmets. Finally, I doubt but few of the tenants have considered their actions. If Ops-Core leaves, it may well result in the closure of the facility altogether. Assuming that much of a loan would require guaranteed income. While there are numerous tenants at Midway Studios, it is doubtful that they would band together and form the business entity required to acquire the building and manage it. After all, they’re artists, if they wanted to manage real estate portfolios they wouldn’t be living in rent controlled spaces.

Overall, it’s a lot of venting, and posturing and well, “Occupy Ops-Core.” In the end, the artist tenants will turn their outrage elsewhere. Hopefully, it will be before any more damage is done.


15 Responses to “The Artists Strike Back”

  1. Jason says:

    Wow….I’d heard about this before and thought it was dumb but this is beyond that. This is petty and ridiculous.

    If I’m reading the article the same way you are, them kicking Ops-Core out would effectively kill the building. They’re busy celebrating over their victory to stop Ops-Core while the deal that would have given up the theatre to Ops Core exclusively but saved the entire complex falls through. Good job idiots.

    The last statement is just disgusting though:
    “The David Rogers thing was kind of a unifying point for a lot of people,’’ he said. “I feel like maybe we’re becoming more of a community.’’

  2. Muddyboots says:

    The situation there is a cultural disconnect. Some people thought they were going to get a free lunch. TANSTAAFL! They just got the bill…

    Please don’t paint all “artists” with a broad brush! (sic) Many who claim the title aren’t and many who don’t claim it are true artists. Art is often political and by nature artists must be. “Where do you get the money to make your art?” It’s an old problem. Many so called artists will dine on cooked golden goose if given the chance. Successful artists are not that short sighted.

    Many artists have put their lives on the line for great causes. The 21 SAS (Ter) was created from an older Regiment called “The Artist Rifles.” Just one example.

    Yes, I am a working artist in one part of my life.


  3. Luk says:


    Very good points in your comments. As a non-artist, I often don’t understand the message behind a certain piece of art. But I appreciate artists as a group of different thinkers that is showing up various angles on subjects and matters.

    I really hope that ops-core can return to production soon…

    In the end, soilders and artists fought & died for freedom and the pursuit their perfect world. Clearly, everybody in its very own way.

    It seems to me that soilders and artists have more in common than one would think…


  4. LAPD/Grunt says:

    Artists or not, these malcontents are obtuse buffoons! I don’t care what title they assign themselves, an asshole is still an asshole.

  5. Strike-Hold! says:

    Okay – let’s not honor these twats with the label “artist” then – how about “petulant cry-babies” instead?

    If Ops-Core can manage it, they should just move out and let them crumble into their own self-induced oblivion…

  6. ODG says:

    Dave, Vik, Na,t keep your heads up and if there is anything I can do for you let me know.

  7. JFP says:

    As a former resident of Boston, and someone involved in the arts scene, (studied design there) it was weird to see two seemingly disparate parts of my life come together so bizarrely.

  8. JC says:

    This is an issue of an industrial “factory” moving into a building which is supposed to be essentially residential. Nothing more. The fact the the owner of the factory was an idiot to fuel the flames of discontent by insulting his neighbours in writing only serves to widen the gap between the parties. He hides behind the “saving lives” motif as if his business was some sort of charity and not profit-earning.

    • SSD says:

      No, this is an issue of a company leasing a space and its neighbors not wanting them there. Writ large this is a case of unrealistic expectations. The tenants want low cost living and work space. They seem unwilling to compromise to get that.

      • JC says:

        No, this is a case of a space in a building being leased for a purpose not sanctioned or approved by the BRA into a building which was intended as an enclave for artists not a light industrial assembly shop. I’m sure Rogers is getting a great deal and himself bandwaggoning on the back of an initiative not intended for his sector.

  9. killslowly says:

    Hey JC, are they going to up your rent when they move out? LOL.

    • JC says:

      I don’t live in Boston. But I would ask you this: would you like it if your next door neighbour suddenly became a factory? Would you not complain if your realtor promised when you purchased your house that you would have a swimming pool but instead you found Tarmac? To understand this story you have to ignore the fact that one of the guys happens to make helmets. Now i understand that that point is not irellevant to this blog but It is irrelevant to the issue reported.

      • Jon says:

        If my neighbor decided to make a factory that is his prerogative. These “artists” need to understand that there is more to life than their “art” and sometimes you need to deal with something you don’t necessarily enjoy. Do I enjoy ridiculous taxes where I live? No. But I deal with them because its a trade off for the comfortable lifestyle I currently have. The artists want subsidized housing so maybe they have to deal with a helmet manufacturer in the basement. Beggars can’t be choosers. There are worse things than having a life saving company working in the basement of a building you don’t even own.

      • killslowly says:

        That’s fair JC. But, should you attack the one business venture that is keeping the place from foreclosing? That “factory” did not make promises to the tenants. The tenants should take it with whomever made the promise.

        The helmet manufacturer has infused some needed capital. They should not be demonized and made the target, when the culprit is some other entity.

        Is Ops-Core violating some sort of zoning code by their business? Is Ops-Core infringing upon the rights of anybody? They’ve occupied a piece of property that was not being properly utilized, and with their hard earned money, they are helping keep the building afloat.

        So yes… I would be mad if promises were broken. I would be pissed if my money was not properly utilized as advertised, but I would aim my anger and frustration at the real estate venture, not the convenient scape goat, who conveniently, might go against some of the original renter’s ideology. Meh… I don’t have a horse in this race. I just hate misguided anger.