Santa Ana artist collective has parts red-tagged, marked as code violations

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ByRob Hayes via KABC logo
Thursday, December 15, 2016
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The Advertising Arts Building in Santa Ana has been known as an artists' enclave, but now the building has had its basement red-tagged and faces fines for several safety violations.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- For decades, the Advertising Arts Building has been known as an artists' enclave, quietly tucked away in a Santa Ana industrial area.

But the repercussions of the Ghost Ship fire, that left 36 people dead, is sparking concern at places like the Arts Building. Just last week, code enforcement inspectors found several safety violations and red-tagged the basement.

"Well I can understand why people are going to be wanting to talk about buildings like this today, but I've been here for a while and I feel completely safe in this building. I think my dad feels the same way," Anthony Barrera said.

Barrera said he works in his father's art studio at the building. His father, he said, has been a tenant for 15 years.

Eyewitness News wasn't allowed inside the building, but in a written statement, the building manager said ownership is working to make safety improvements.

"The cost of certain repairs is going to be significant, but we're committed to ensuring the presence of artists in the artists village," the statement said.

Eyewitness News also tried to speak with Santa Ana code enforcement officials, but requests were denied.

Until the violations are fixed, residents like Barrera are worried creative gathering spots such as the Arts Building may disappear.

"Places like this are necessary, and it's really a sanctuary for artists, kind of like an oasis in the middle of Santa Ana," he said.

Santa Ana zoning records show tenants of the building are not allowed to live there. If the new code violations are not resolved, the owners could be facing thousands of dollars in fines.