Arts-center fund push is ahead of schedule, with more to raise

Arlington Center for the Arts (ACA), aiming to move out of the former Gibbs School next June, is five weeks ahead of its fund-raising schedule.

ACA Future Fund logo

Linda Shoemaker, ACA executive director, told the Redevelopment Board that its fund-raising effort, called the Future Fund, date has raised more than $150,000 in cash and pledges as of Dec. 16. That's $20,000 beyond the benchmark set to be raised by Jan. 31 under an agreement with the town.

"We are delighted to have met this first fund-raising milestone ahead of schedule," she said in a statement Dec. 21. "We couldn’t have done it without a tremendous outpouring of community support.

"We are so thankful for all the people who have supported the 'New ACA' so far -- those who have donated, those who have made pledges, and everyone who has expressed support and enthusiasm for the project. The ACA will make the transition to the new building on the strength of community support, and so far, the community has been there for ACA."

$300K matching-grant sought

She also told the board Dec. 19 that ACA is applying for a Cultural Facilities Fund Grant from the state Council by Jan. 13. The center seeks $300,000 in matching funds to help pay for renovations to its new home, the Central School/Senior Center.

In response to a question from the board, she confirmed that the grant is "all or nothing" -- that is, at least $300,000 must be raised locally to get the matching grant.

ACA filed a letter of intent for the grant in November. "We anticipate a competitive grant pool," she wrote in a memo to the board, "but we are cautiously optimistic that ACA will make a strong case for funding. Awards will be announced in June."

The application will include the fact that town arts supporters are applying to the state for cultural-district status. The area involved would include the Civic Block area, which encompasses the Senior Center.

Jan. 28 Town Hall gala

In addition, she announced that a fund-raising event will be held at Town Hall on Saturday, Jan. 28. ACA's Winter Arts Gala is to feature live jazz music, a silent auction, presentation of the annual Alan McClennen Community Arts Award, hors d’oeuvres, libations and some special surprises. She hopes event draw $20,000 to the Future Fund campaign.

Further, she reported that ACA has officially engaged Pinck & Co. of Boston as its owner's project manager for planning, construction and the move. Pinck is drafting the request for proposals for architect/design services, which is expected to be released just after Jan. 1.

Her memo to the board also refers to ACA's report for 2016: "ACA had a strong year, despite the challenges of the building situation, and is well-positioned to navigate the transition ahead.

"ACA programs touched an estimated 15,000 people this year, and revenues topped $650,000 for the second straight year.

"New programs, including Arlington Porchfest grew ACA's visibility and support in the community."

From the annual report

Here are some details from the annual report:

-- February, April, and summer arts camps: 1,108 campers, 460 members, 250 artists

-- 3,000-plus artworks exhibited

-- 120 bands at Porchfest in June

-- 450 "Humans of Arlington" portraits

ACA officially launched a $600,000 fund-raiser to pay for its new home on Oct. 27 as an estimated 65 people crowded the festive Lyons Hearing Room at Town Hall. The annual report puts the campaign at $1 million.

In a month, Shoemaker said to hearty applause, that the effort had more than doubled its intake -- to $130,000 in cash and pledges. The amount raised Sept. 27 was $63,000.

While the overall goal is large, she said in October, "if we work together, it is not." If each of the town's 18,000 households contributed $33, she said, then reaching $600,000 was possible. If that occurred, total would be $694,000. 

Learn how to contribute here >>

Oct. 30, 2016: Arts center raises one-fifth of $600K for new home

Oct. 4, 2016: First full report of ACA's fund-raising
July 27, 2016: Center for Arts' capital campaign sets lofty goal -- $600,000
July 26, 2016: ACMi award goes to Shoemaker
Full memorandum of understanding, Center for the Arts, Redevelopment Board (large .pdf file
June 20, 2016: Public sees plans for revamped Senior Center, and 'no bricks' draws applause
May 24, 2016: Town receives three proposals to lease Senior Center space

This news summary was published Friday, Dec. 23, 2016.