A Ship in the Woods—the mid-century Del Mar home that's served as an art space since 2010, hosting exhibitions, artists-in-residence, film screenings, live music and the occasional party—is in danger of being demolished.

But that's not a surprise to co-founders R.J. Brooks, Kiersten Puusemp and Dan Fauchier. In fact, they knew when signing the lease that the homeowners intended to tear the place down in three years' time, Brooks says.

"It was one of the reasons we wanted to move there," he says. "We could do whatever we wanted to the house."

But like a foster family that agreed to temporarily care for an adorable puppy, Brooks and friends got attached. Now they're trying to decide their next move.

"We're not sure how to handle that," he says. "We can start a campaign to save the house or just start looking for a different space altogether. We're not sure how we're going to do that. We're just waiting to see what the owners are actually going to do. We can make them an offer at any point, but we'll need to follow up that offer. We don't have the money to do that now."

Brooks believes the homeowners will want double the amount that A Ship in the Woods can currently offer, especially since the house has a rich history in the entertainment industry. It was originally built as a summer home for George Brent, a 1930s and '40s movie star, and later served as lodging for actors performing at the North Coast Repertory Theater.

CityBeat was unable to reach the homeowners by press time.

While regular visitors have expressed a willingness to help out financially, Brooks is unsure which course to take and has yet to "put it out there" to the general public. If they do move, he hopes to stay in North County, but they're willing to relocate to Downtown or Barrio Logan.

"We love this place," Brooks says. "It has this old, mid-century, beatnik type of feel. There's not a lot of those homes left in the area. That's kind of the draw. It's a relaxed environment. People find that more welcoming."

The lease is up in March 2014. Until then, the space will host the Helm series, featuring two solo exhibitions a month curated by art historian Lara Bullock. The next in the series is Endless Stare, opening with a reception at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15. It features pieces inspired by the act of staring by Los Angeles-based artist and designer John Parot ( johnparot.com), and will be on view through Nov. 22 by appointment only.

Write to alexz@sdcitybeat.com. You can also bug her on Twitter.


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