Inside Texas Tech: The Cliffhouse Project

Jan 26, 2018

Drive a short distance east of Interstate 27 on Broadway Street and you’ll come across a relic of earlier times in Lubbock. The old Cliffhouse Restaurant no longer has a roof, windows or doors. But to one Lubbock woman, it’s a small slice of art heaven. Cimmee Hagy is working to turn it into an art gallery and a nearby former RV park into a community garden and kitchen.

“It was incredible looking when it went up and when it was open, and we want it to be incredible looking and inviting looking again,” she says.

Cimmee Hagy finds her passion in art but moreso in getting East Lubbock artists’ work seen. That’s one of the goals the 27-year-old has for The Cliffhouse Project. She is working to find funding to rehab the former restaurant on East Broadway and to do the same to nearby structures that were once part of Parkview Lodge. And a fundraising gala for the five-acre property is currently planned for late April.

The owner of the property, the Guadalupe Economic Services Corporation, is supportive of her efforts. Hagy says she believes to do the project as she envisions it will take as much as $12 million.

She plans to pursue a non-profit status for the project. Already, though, she’s seen what the project could become.

“These are the bare bones,” she explains. “This is how you get started. However, coming from just an idea for one quick pop-up show for fun, I don’t know if I ever expected Cliffhouse to be what it already is.”

Last summer, Hagy organized several clean-up days to rid the properties of old tires, trash, tents, blankets and clothes, and weeds and small trees. She organized and staged a pop-up fine-arts show in early September and another followed in December, this one with BLNKA, a group of art students at Texas Tech. Both were well-attended and successful. “It required a whole lot of work before we could even start,” she says. “I’m really glad that before BLNKA stepped in and asked to do their show, that we got the bulk of the work done because that makes it ten times easier when it’s not the mess that it was when we started.”

Hagy’s realistic and feels pretty certain that funding from only one source for the whole project is unlikely.

“It’s not very common to get that number from source. There are organizations out there that do like to start brand new centers like ours. Those are few and far between. You hope that you hit one of those—you hope you hit their soft spot,” she says. “But a lot of it is going to be done in stages and that’s how you start applying for that grant money, is you prioritize. You say, ‘ok, what stage do we need to get done first.’”

A vital component of the Cliffhouse Project is the organic community garden and kitchen she wants to install. There aren’t healthy eating options in the area, so she wants to help residents with that. “That’ll be the driving force of the entire center is this whole aspect of teaching in Lubbock, and specifically East Lubbock, which in East Lubbock you don’t find many outlets to great nutrition.”

The East Lubbock artists could show their works in exchange for helping out on the remainder of the property.

“While you have these residents that get promised, here you get this big show on east Broadway, what we expect from you in return is this amount of volunteer hours, keeping up with the gardens. So that way not only are your artists involved in showing their work and creating their work, but they’re also involved in the community aspect as well.”

Hagy acknowledges that her task is monumental. But she is determined and focused. She’s looking at a three-year timeframe.

“When Cliffhouse is finished, when the space is a little more curated and a little more organized, I think we’ll pull a blend of all kinds of attention from all kinds of people,” she says.