A community of displaced artists is still looking for a home seven months after the closing of their Gettysburg art co-op.

Waldo's on Stratton, formerly housed in a brick building off of Stratton Street in Gettysburg, closed in mid-September after borough code officials deemed the building unsafe for human occupancy.

The group's board of directors hoped to perform the required renovations, but, after months of research, they discovered the cost was too high, said Waldo's founder Chris Lauer.

Waldo's will have to find a new home for its studios, stage and gathering space, he said.

While the Stratton Street building holds memories for many Gettysburg artists who once called Waldo's a home away from home, the change, Lauer said, could be exactly what the group needs to emerge bigger and better than before.

"It was a great time to build a community," Lauer said of the three years Waldo's spent on Stratton Street. "Now we really have a foundation to move into something new."

The group will kick off a fundraising campaign Friday with an 11-band show in the basement of 17 Lincoln Square. After that, supporters will be able to donate to Waldo's online.

The goal, Lauer said, is to raise $30,000 — enough money to rebuild Waldo's in a new location.

Waldo's board of directors has not settled on a new location, but is considering several spots close to Gettysburg's square, Lauer said. They hope to have the co-op running again by mid-summer.

The new space will maintain the function of the old building on Statton Street — part art gallery, part music venue and part community living room — while adding additional communal art areas, rentable studio spaces and a used bookstore, Lauer said.

Waldo's also plans to maintain its substance-free environment, complete with the return of its Kool-Aid bar. There, visitors can order alcohol-free custom drinks with sweet syrups in gourmet flavors like rhubarb and cloves.

The goal, Lauer said, is to make Waldo's even better than it was while staying true to the group's vision: providing a space where people of all ages can enjoy art, music and each other's company.

If you go

What: Save Waldo's fundraising kickoff concert

When: Friday, April 17, 6 p.m. to midnight

Where: Basement of 17 Lincoln Square

Cost: Suggested $17 donation

Includes: 11 bands, art displays, free T-shirts, hot dogs and a teaser premier of a musical

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