By TAYLOR HARTZ
After two years of living room board meetings, the team behind Southington Community Cultural Arts (SoCCA) held their first board meeting in the organization’s new home—the Gura building in downtown Southington.
With their temporary certificate of occupancy recently acquired, SoCCA is putting the finishing touches on the new art center. They are ordering furniture, decorating the walls, and checking off the last few items on a short list of things to do before their doors open this fall.
Still without furniture, all the board members brought their own chairs for the milestone meeting last week, where Board of Directors President Dawn Miceli said the group marveled at what had become of the idea for a community and cultural arts center.
“We all just looked around and thought ‘I can’t believe this is all actually coming to fruition,’” said Miceli. “We’re inside the building. This is awesome.”
Led by SoCCA Executive Director Mary DeCroce, the executive board includes Miceli, Vice President Susan Urillo Larson, treasurer David DeCroce, and secretary Paula Knight.
As they finalize programs and a full slate of classes, the board is preparing for a “soft opening” later this month. Their town-wide debut will be at the Apple Harvest Festival (AHF) this September.
SoCCA will open up for one evening later this month, for donors of financial donations, goods, and services to take a peak inside, tour the studio spaces, and try out some sample classes and activities.
The grand opening will come this fall. The first peak for the public will be on Sept. 30, day one of the AHF.
“During the festival we will swing open our doors and let the public in,” said Miceli. On Oct. 12, the center will be up and running for the public with a packed calendar of classes, performances, activities, programs, lessons, and rehearsals.
“We’ll have the tried-and-true classes,” said Miceli, like painting and pottery, “but we’ll also have lots of spunky and trendy opportunities.”
During the mornings and afternoons, programs will include “Mommy and Me” styled activities for parents and children not yet in school. In the afternoons and evenings, a variety of activities will be available for all age groups. A few classes will be aimed toward teenage crowds, including a comic book making course.
The center will also be home to a variety of artists, musicians, and creative individuals, with most of the studio spaces already booked up.
Miceli said she and DeCroce had a vision of allowing the space to “play host for our civic groups and other nonprofits.” Plans are already in the works for members of the chamber of commerce to hold their economic development meetings in the space.
During their final phase of planning, Miceli said the board is busy finalizing programs, classes, and terms of membership. Membership for SoCCA is now open online, and members will receive discounts, special offers, and first notification of programming and classes.
For more information, visit www.southingtonarts.org.