Nantasket Center for the Arts
Hull Artists Awarded State Grant for Feasibility Study to Develop the Nantasket Center for the Arts
Hull Artists has been awarded a $22,000 matching grant from the Mass Cultural Council Cultural Facilities Fund to support a feasibility study to develop the vacant police barracks located at 213 Nantasket Avenue into the Nantasket Center for the Arts. The facility, built in the 1930’s, served as a police station for the State Police and then the DCR Police until 1992 and has been vacant since. The building is currently owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and maintained through the DCR.
The grant will help fund a study to determine the feasibility of renovating the building for the purpose of creating a community arts center and to determine the efficacy and sustainability of developing such a center in Hull. The plan for the center will be to provide a wide range of arts programming and services including: classroom space providing a full range of art and performance classes for adults, teens and children; an after-school arts and culture program for area youth; workspace for artists; retail gallery space displaying the work of local artists; and community meeting space.
The grant requires Hull Artists to raise a 100% match, within one year, to cover the full cost of the feasibility study, estimated to be $44,000. Hull Artists has been working with Fort Point Consulting, a professional consulting group that specializes in arts organizations and the repurposing of vacant structures, to complete the feasibility study and to develop the concept of a center for the arts.
Planning is the first logical step before moving forward on a project of this nature. The feasibility study will inform how the project will move forward including how the building can be renovated, the types of programming and community spaces that would be feasible in the building and the resources necessary to develop programming suited to the facility and ongoing maintenance.
Bart Blumberg, President of Hull Artists stated “It is widely recognized that art and cultural programs also serve as economic generators for a community. The art gallery will offer an outlet for artists to display and sell their work. When a piece of art is sold, the funds received by the artists tend to stay local. “
Irwin Nesoff, a member of the board of Hull Artists stated, “while Hull is a seasonal tourist destination a vibrant art and cultural space in this gateway location can serve to draw people to the community in the off season.” He continued, “a regional center for the arts can provide an important anchor for the town, drawing people from across the region increasing tourism and economic development. Currently, a vacant building does none of this.”
The Community Development Plan completed by the Cecil Group for the Town of Hull proposes a “Cultural Neighborhood” designation for the section of Town where the proposed Nantasket Center for the Arts will be located. The report states that the former DCR properties located in this Cultural Neighborhood (including the former police station that is the subject of this proposal) are “prime to contribute to the economic growth of the Town.”
The Hull 2000, Open Space and Recreation Plan Update, a study commissioned by the Town stresses the importance of addressing the recreation and cultural needs of the community. During the visioning process, citizens identified a need for an indoor community center that would include high priority needs such as educational, cultural and recreational activities. The report concluded that “the recreation needs of Hull’s residents are paramount in maintaining the local quality of life. A community center should be created as a central meeting place for the Town and provide recreational, cultural and educational opportunities year-round for both adults and youth… Visitors and recreational and cultural activities that attract them are a major contributor to the Town’s tax base.”