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Vonnegut Library Move To Mass Ave Might Be In Jeopardy

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library’s plan to move to Mass Ave seems to have hit a rough patch.
A recent post on the organization’s website announced that a planned April 8 grand opening of the new space in a building at 646 Massachusetts Avenue was delayed “due to an unforeseen structural issue.”
Vonnegut Library founder and CEO Julia Whitehead recently emailed WFYI’s The Art of the Matter radio program to request that a recorded interview she gave for an upcoming episode be pulled from the show due to new information “that makes the interview not only out of date but also causes things to be a bit thorny for us legally.”
“Our lease on Mass Ave is being terminated,” Whitehead continued.
The move was supposed to close the book on a long planning process and fundraising campaign by the nonprofit, which opened in its present location on Senate Avenue in 2011.
In an April 2016 blog post on the organization’s website announcing a $750,000 fundraising goal, Whitehead was quoted as saying “we are thrilled to have found our permanent home,” and the new building would “serve as our national research, tour, and program center.” The effort included a Kickstarter campaign that netted nearly $100,000.
On February 1, another blog post on the Vonnegut Library’s website acknowledging the contribution of prominent Indianapolis arts patrons Frank and Katrina Basile confirmed that construction at the building on Mass Ave was “well underway.”
According to property tax records, the building is owned by an entity called 646 Mass Ave Partners Inc., whose registered agent is identified by Indiana Secretary of State business records as Scott Johnson. Johnson is the principal at advertising agency Axiomport, which currently occupies the space. He did not immediately return IM’s phone calls seeking comment.
In a recent phone call with IM, Whitehead said she was unable to provide additional details but described the situation as “heartbreaking.”
The Vonnegut Library’s annual “Night of Vonnegut” gala at the Athenaeum, also scheduled on April 8, will proceed as planned, according to the website.

Since first joining Indianapolis Monthly in 2000, West has written about a wide range of subjects including crime, history, arts and entertainment, pop culture, politics, and food. His feature stories have twice been noted in the Best American Sports Writing anthology and have received top honors from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. “The Collapse,” West’s account of the 2011 Indiana State Fair tragedy, was a 2013 National City and Regional Magazine Awards finalist in the category of Best Reporting. He lives on the near-east side.