We are The DOLLHAUS II Art Gallery Located in Bayonne New Jersey.
“We need your help! After 3 years supporting local artists and a large LBGTQA+ community in Bayonne NJ, we might be forced out after
some took offense to our beautiful pink mannequins. ”
We took over the space on 23 Cottage Street and spent a year renovating and making the space clear. We opened officially with our first artist in March of 2019. We chose to come to Bayonne because we loved it. The Dollhaus started in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at 37 Broadway under the Williamsburg Bridge and was extremely well attended. Dollhaus ran hard and heavy for 6 years. Finally after the raise of rents
and gentrification of this originally known creative artists neighborhood and just kicking all the artists out we just didn't feel we fitted in
anymore in the 'Artistic' desired. The gallery was forced to travel to unknown areas to continue operations and have a platform for
exhibiting up and coming artists with unique talents. An 'Outsider Gallery', Dollhaus II was born again. Here is where Bayonne, New Jersey comes to play! WHERE? Seemed like a perfect place to carry on with DOLLHAUS II.
The Dollhaus II is an 'Outsider' Art Gallery. We have shown Bayonne local artists as well as bringing in new artists from the five boroughs
of New York City and even stretching to Vietnam, Australia and Europe. The openings are well attended and our artists are unique and very skilled and just absolutely fantastic. We brought a 1970's Football star from Marist High School back to his hometown of Bayonne where he was born and bred and had two extended solo exhibitions while being represented in Chelsea in Manhattan. Dollhaus II did that! Big Mike CAME HOME TO BAYONNE! The painter Big Mike Saviello whose studio is in the back of well known Astor Place Hair Stylists known for his paintings of our own legend Chuck Wepner. He found his talent at 55 years of old and has been well covered in the press for being a new modern contemporary Van Gogh artist.
We do a few group shows a year showcasing local artists and we do a show once a year where children can participate in and show their work. To date we have had 12 local Bayonne school children exhibit here in the Dollhaus II Art Gallery. And families attend our gallery regularly and the children love it here.
We decided to have an art display up outside our gallery. People were getting lost while they trekked all the way to this little unknown city. We became a destination. We had an artist who does window displays in New York City help create and execute the DOLLHAUS II vision.
Monday July 12th we were ordered by the City of Bayonne to take down the display and were told to CEASE and DESIST all operations. We were aggressively contacted by the City of Bayonne and the violations and zoning officers and were told to remove the display and to not have a pink door and not to have pink stairs and to remove any pink mannequins from the windows by the end of the day or the violations would roll.
THE CITY WANTS THEM DOWN AND MY GOODNESS THEY WILL GET THEIR WAY ONE WAY OR ANOTHER AND HAVE SUCCEEDED IN FORCING US TO TAKE DOWN THESE PINK MANNEQUINS AND CEASE AND DESIST OUR GALLERY!!
THEY GOT US!!
We took the display down due to the incredibly huge fines of $1300 per violation if we did not comply immediately. Every day we were told to comply or the violations would come down on us.
We didn't understand what violation we had committed. We never really got an answer to the mannequins but what we did get was the start of a very complicated expensive procedure for us to be able to open the gallery doors again.
We are a commercial space with an art studio and art gallery lease and we are situated in between two commercial manufacturing businesses. After the manufacturing businesses we have a bar and then another business. Opposite us is a construction business and a few doors down is a large corner of a mechanics business and abandoned gas station.
23 Cottage street between Orient Street and Broadway and is 60% commercial 40% residential.
The Zoning Officer City of Bayonne Department of Municipal Services Division of Planning and Zoning.
21-23 Cottage Street is block 319-lot 6.01-R 2
According to the city of Bayonne there is no record in the zoning office of use or prior use for the commercial space at the above
referenced property therefore, the commercial use as an art gallery is not a permitted. Be advised that you will not be permitted to open or operate until you receive approval. In addition, the mannequins on the outside of the building must be removed immediately.
Currently this is a Residential Zone with a commercial use making this non-conforming which would require a land variance.
The city said originally that the fee would be $100 for the application and $500 in ESCROW for any fees incurred by the city. This was wrong. We also have a history of the property being a manufacturing business since the 1970's.
We need a lawyer to apply for an application to go before the zoning board of adjustment. As we are not allowed to represent ourselves. This is a minimum of three months and the fees are high. We have already reached out to a entity of land use lawyer here in Bayonne who told us immediately the fees that were quoted by the city were misleading. And now we have been quoted a minimum of $5000 to $10000. The lawyer was nice and did his best. These quotes is for the lawyer and the fees and the application then the many forms and things the city expects us to present and that all costs a lot of money for example: architectural renderings and private planners, the list goes on to
what needs to be presented to the zoning board.
We are not permitted to have an art gallery. For us to even start this process we need an entity of land use attorney then we can begin this process.
So we The DOLLHAUS II cannot afford to do this after we spent all our money building the art gallery up to what it is. So it means we have to
close down. You know for 6 months of the pandemic we had to close the gallery and find our rent which was not reduced and no aid was given
to us and we covered our rents by doing a show and tell on zoom with local artists! Now this.
We were suggested to start a go fund me to see if the community and anyone interested could help us with legal fees to start the process of hiring a lawyer to submit the application. We hope we get to stay in Bayonne. We and all the artists have put a lot into this city and brought hundreds of people to this unusual peninsula who would have never come here. We have had a lot of press and always a joyous response from our exhibitions and what we put into this city. From celebrities, to art stars to well known people from a vast spectrum of successful artists to professional curators from well known establishments to art lovers and artists all over the world and just YES just regular people who come to enjoy what we do here in the community. They come to DOLLHAUS II as a destination and they enjoy the neighborhood and spend their money here. We have a lot of supporters but we are overwhelmed and saddened by what has been aggressive and scary. We hope we find some help here or we're done for and have to pick up all these years of hard work and money to go someone where else.