Southington Community Cultural Arts was awarded a $118,000 grant from the Main Street Community Foundation in support of improving the health and wellbeing of Southington residents through the visual and performing arts.
The funding came via the Bradley Henry Barnes and Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust, which was created 40 years ago “for the betterment of the people of Southington” and has been under the stewardship of the Main Street Community Foundation since 2004.
“Southington is a very innovative community and if Bradley was here, I think he would agree, and if Leila were here I think she would be painting in the arts center,” Main Street President and CEO Susan D. Sadecki said in a press release.
Southington Community Cultural Arts is currently renovating the historic Gura Building into a cultural arts center for the greater Southington community. To date, the Gura Art Center is scheduled for completion in October and will feature arts programming, classroom and studio space, an art gallery, a black box theatre, a retail art supply store, a soundproof music studio, a pottery studio and more for the downtown space.
The grant award consists of two components, including helping fund the capital campaign project currently under way for the renovation and funding to implement a UArts Program, which will operate out of the Gura Building Arts Center.
The UArts Program is a statewide network of individuals, organizations and supportive artists who provide opportunities in the arts for people with disabilities, especially with regard to providing resources and tutelage for projects that can help generate income for the artist.
The Southington arts center has been tapped as a site for the UArts, also known as universal arts, in order to provide studio space and artist training for those who would like to become art mentors and lead workshops for diverse populations. Other UArts locations in Connecticut include Chapel Haven in New Haven and Art Connection Studio in Hartford.
“The fact that the town of Southington and Southington Community Cultural Arts has been recognized as a feasible location for UArts is such a distinction,” SCCA Chairman Mary DeCroce said in the release. “Add to that honor the fact that Main Street Community Foundation further acknowledges the importance of providing such venues and services to those who are underserved and it’s truly remarkable.”
To learn more about Southington Community Cultural Arts and the transformation of the Gura Building into an arts center, visit SouthingtonArts.org and the non-profit’s Facebook page.