Compound, an arts and wellness nonprofit that opened in Long Beach, Calif., has abruptly closed after just over a year.
“It is with heavy hearts that we inform our beautiful community that Compound will be closing its doors,” the organization’s founder, Megan Tagliaferri, wrote in a statement on her website and social media announcing the September closure.
Compound was announced in the summer of 2020 and was originally scheduled to open in September of that year.
“I wanted to create a space where all aspects of a person and a community can be nurtured,” said Los Angeles-based designer and art collector Tagliaferri. told Artnet News when announcing the new space. “Art and well-being both have the ability to strengthen our connections and our understanding of ourselves, our communities and the world around us. Compound’s mission is to create a space for dialogue, justice social, healing and transformative, all grounded in the arts.
At this point, Tagliaferri had been working on the project for several years. She had hired BOA Architects to renovate a pair of 1930s Art Deco buildings for the project – a cost of $1.2 million – and commissioned renowned artists to create sculptural ornaments for the space. LAXART founder Lauri Firstenberg was brought in as curator and artistic director of Compound.
The 15,000-square-foot center, dubbed a “cultural sanctuary,” finally opened to the public in July 2021. Exhibits, meditation sessions, a restaurant, and shop were on offer. A neon sign designed by Tavares Strachan that read “You Belong Here” hung above the front door.
But barely four months later, in November, the Los Angeles Times reported that Compound had laid off up to eight employees, including three senior executives. In what Tagliaferri called a “restructuring, the organization’s membership had been reduced to half a dozen members.
Pandemic-induced financial challenges “have forced us to scale back activities and programs at this time, and many positions have been cut,” the founder explained. “Nothing about these pandemic realities dampens our enthusiasm for Compound’s long-term mission, and we hope that in the near future we will be able to pivot in a way that leverages the many contributions from the public, for which we are very grateful.”
“Like so many others,” she continued, “we are determined to make Covid just a bump in the road, not a complete roadblock.”
But a roadblock it turned out to be. In his statement declaring the closure of Compound, Tagliaferri again cited the pandemic, saying it brought “unpredictable and insurmountable challenges” to the fledgling organization.
“Know that while this is the end of Compound, it is not the end of our efforts to bring about change by believing and investing in new models for a better future for all,” Tagliaferri said.
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