2009-05-21 / Letters to the Editor

Group committed to arts center

The Jamestown Arts Center would like to thank everyone who so graciously supported us as we endeavored to purchase the old town offices at 44 Southwest Ave.

Everyone on the Town Council and in the town offices was so helpful and worked hard with us to make this project a success. However, despite all our best efforts, the property is unworkable for our specific needs and, very sadly, we have had to withdraw our purchase proposal.

The goal of the Jamestown Arts Center is to unite our vital island arts community by providing one centrally located professional space for education, performance, exhibition and rehearsal for music, theater, dance, visual and literary arts.

We will offer low cost, on-island arts experiences for people of all ages, abilities, and disciplines. We look forward to collaborating with existing arts organizations and helping new groups to form. We believe that this facility will greatly benefit our community by creating a wide range of opportunities including employment, outreach, mentoring, internships and increase a state wide draw to Jamestown.

The Jamestown Arts Center will need a fairly substantial in-town site to achieve our mission. Affordability, permitting, and zoning are key issues. Some spaces in the arts center will be shared and flexible. Other spaces will demand special considerations for sound, ventilation, and other discipline-specific needs. Understandably, not every available property will be appropriate. Most importantly, we must be assured that we may succeed in creating a sustainable business on the site we choose.

The support from Jamestowners has been so enthusiastic for the Jamestown Arts Center. Art lovers of all ages, serious benefactors, and the Rhode Island Foundation already have been overwhelmingly encouraging and generous as we move through this tough and costly process. We appreciate this support so much!

As art is an opportunity to transform and create, so our pursuit to build an art center for our community must stay flexible and reflect change. We remain dedicated and hugely optimistic that the Jamestown Arts Center will soon find an inspiring, vibrant home. We look forward to sharing good news with you soon. Kate Petrie Jamestown Arts Center

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