Island performance space The Pit Stop to be sold

From left: Marciana Jones, Nina Violet, and Willy Mason on stage December 22, 2012 at The Pit Stop. — File photo by Angelina Godbout

The Pit Stop’s last stop may be just down the road. Donald Muckerheide, owner of the popular Oak Bluffs music and arts venue, plans to sell the building that houses the Pit Stop because of a lack of funds.

In an email to fans sent Tuesday, Mr. Muckerheide wrote, “About one year ago a small group of artists got together to try and establish a local alternative to the bars for the enjoyment of music, poetry, art, theater, i. e. all forms of visual and performing arts. I agreed to pull the Pit Stop property from the market for the year to see what would happen.”

Pit Stop memberships only generated about 10 percent of needed revenue, Mr. Muckerheide said. As a result, he has put the property back on the market for use as an entertainment and art venue, or housing.

Mr. Muckerheide said that he expects the property to go on the market for approximately $800,000. He said that he has a permit for 12 two-bedroom condos or apartments and that he sees the value in using it for resident housing as well as a community arts space. “Either way I hope something positive for the Island community comes of the property,” he said.

For the time being, the events continue. A benefit for the Skate Park is scheduled for January 25, and the National Accordion champion, Dan Gurney, and his band play January 27. A Chilmark pot luck is scheduled for January 26. Open mic nights continue.

Mr. Muckerheide bought the property in the late 1970s and ran an automotive garage there, also called the Pit Stop, before converting it to a performance and art space just over a year ago.

Local musicians, including Mr. Muckerheide’s daughters, the multi-talented Nina Violet and Marciana Jones, began performing in the space in late 2011.

The intimate laid-back venue has become a favorite of local musicians, not only because of its good acoustics and large stage area but because of the night club-like audience setting with room to move around most nights.

“We had a lot of fun. A lot of people were brought together. Many personal, musical, artistic and professional relationships were kindled. Some found people to share their art with, and some found soul mates to share their lives with,” Mr. Muckerheide said.