Main Street Arts begins capital campaign for new addition

SAXTONS RIVER — Main Street Arts is kicking off its capital campaign to build a two-story addition and new outdoor space by knocking down the abandoned building next door. The demolition began last week, and it is expected to take two weeks to clear the site.

MSA recently acquired 33 Main and is working with local architects and preservation groups to develop plans that fit with the community arts center's historical building and the village townscape as well as remediating the brownfields contamination at the site.

According to Margo Ghia, MSA managing director, the organization's ambitious campaign, Moving Forward, Moving Up, is a transformative project that will make MSA accessible, expand and improve the building, add outdoor classrooms and gardens, and revitalize Main Street.

Included in the capital improvements are an elevator, accessible bathroom, new entrance, porch and lobby. In addition, the building expansion is designed for new offices, art gallery, and theater storage space. The downstairs classroom and art studio will be improved, with more space for creative projects and storage.

“This project represents years of planning by multiple Main Street Arts boards of directors,” said Ghia. “A year ago, we started exploring the possibility of acquiring the abandoned building next door, and the board took on the challenge to physically expand our building and enhance Main Street. We are so happy to make our building accessible so that all of our community members can participate in classes and events. The addition will be stunning and add to the beauty of Saxtons River's Main Street.”

The current MSA board plans to raise $875,000 for the project and has already secured $675,000 in federal and state grants, tax credits, board support, and gifts-in-kind.

“Last fall, MSA, under the sponsorship of the Saxtons River Trustees, applied for and received a $300,000 grant from the Vermont Community Development Program to be used for making Main Street Arts accessible,” explained Peter Stolley, co-chair of the board. “We were thrilled and amazed to receive such a large grant, and it has really energized everyone involved with this project. Our next step is to reach out to our greater community for their support.”

Kathleen Bryar, chair of the Capital Campaign Committee, reports, “Main Street Arts celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2013, and this campaign is a fitting and community-focused way to position us for our next 25 years. This campaign is the most ambitious, even audacious project in MSA's history since its founding. Our board has taken on the campaign with gusto and commitment. We really are the 'Little Engine That Could.'”

Main Street Arts is a nonprofit community arts center dedicated to serving the creative needs of the greater community by seeking to encourage creative expression through a wide range of artistic experiences. Further information is available by contacting MSA at 802-869-2960, [email protected],, or on Facebook.

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