Cape Cod cultural groups to expand and rebuild this year
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Cape Cod cultural groups to expand and rebuild this year

DENNIS, Mass. — In a volatile time for Cape Cod cultural organizations, a small construction boom is happening as groups expand, reorganize and reimagine themselves for 2019 and beyond.

A lot of the work and planning is taking place during this off-season as several organizations hope to greet this year’s summer visitors with new looks and new programs.

Patrons of the arts are being asked to help the causes as capital campaigns seek donations to make what some call their “dreams” come true. Supporters are often answering the calls: Cotuit Center for the Arts, for example, raised more than $1.1 million in private funds in just the last few months of 2018 to push forward its expansion plans.

Towns and the state, largely through the Massachusetts Cultural Council, are also boosters for local culture. In May, more than $1.3 million for Cape and Islands arts groups was among $9.3 million in Cultural Facility Fund grants approved by the MassDevelopment board of directors. All dollars needed to be matched, but the facility fund is designed to spur growth in the creative economy by supporting building projects, council officials said.

That creative economy is vital to Cape Cod, statistics show, with cultural tourism the fastest-growing sector of the travel industry. There are about 400 Cape non-profit arts-related organizations, including about two-dozen active theatres and more than 600 collections being managed by museums, libraries and historical societies, according to data from the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod.

In Barnstable County in 2018, there were 7,392 people employed in creative jobs, either full- or part-time year-round — a number that is 22 per cent above the national county average, according to data made available last week by the foundation and the Mass Hire/Cape & Islands Workforce Board. (Average annual earnings per job, however, are about half the national average of $60,000, the statistics show.)

Local arts officials have been working to meet early 2019 deadlines for grant applications for this year’s state building funding, and working with towns for additional dollars.

Cape Rep Theatre, for example, recently received $410,000 from Brewster’s Community Preservation Act monies for its restoration of the historic Crosby Barn on the property that the theatre rents from the state.

Similarly, Wellfleet Historical Society and Museum raised the majority of money needed for its current $500,000 exterior renovation with $270,000 in town CPA funds and $100,000 from state building grants.

Here’s a look at a dozen cultural building projects on Cape Cod for 2019 and the related fundraising efforts. These are listed geographically, starting on the busy Lower Cape:

Payomet Performing Arts Center

Location: 29 Old Dewline Road, North Truro (at a former air base at Cape Cod National Seashore)

Project: A phased renovation and expansion plan over several years of the tent-based art centre to be used for concerts, circus events and theatre. Phase 1, due to be completed by summer, includes a new tent for its main stage, risers and staging, and renovations to outbuildings for performer waiting areas, dressing rooms, hospitality and storage. The current tent will be moved to Payomet’s second site on the grounds, to be used for its circus camp, circus programs and other smaller events and classes. The next phase of renovation would include bathrooms, administrative space and, possibly, theatre/event space in existing buildings.

Estimated cost: The first phase is due to cost $250,000; additional work beyond summer 2019 could bring the total price tag to $1 million.

Funds still needed: $30,000 for Phase 1.

Where it stands: Phase 1 work is expected to be completed by May.

Highland House Museum/Truro Historical Society

Location: Highland Light Road, Truro

Project: Last year, the group completed basic structural work — including foundation, roof trusses, windows, siding — as the first phase on the more than a century-old building. The current phase includes building a two-story, 500-square-foot, climate-controlled addition on the same footprint as one previously torn down. Future phases include an elevator and a new roof.

Estimated cost: $1 million for all work.

Funds still needed: $200,000 for future phases; officials expect two to three more years of fundraising and renovation work.

Where it stands: Addition being built now as part of second phase.

Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill

Location: 10 Meetinghouse Road, Truro

Project: With the centre becoming a two-campus, year-round arts centre last year, work continues to finish restoration of the Edgewood Farm building for residencies and events, including an elevator and additional windows. There are plans to add parking and lighting to the campus, and renovate a “wood shop” building and a former horse barn brought to the property from Ballston Beach.

Estimated cost: Funding of $700,000 in first phase of renovations completed; next phase estimated to cost about $600,000.

Funds still needed: About $600,000, likely to be raised in phases, for different properties, including a campaign for the organization’s 50th anniversary in 2021.

Where it stands: Renovation ongoing, including recent roof and window work.

Wellfleet Preservation Hall

Location: 335 Main St., Wellfleet

Project: A two-floor, 40-by-13-foot addition that will allow expanded office and meeting/community space, and a full basement for storage, plus landscaping and roof repairs for the community centre, which holds hundreds of events and classes each year.

Cost: $500,000, including furnishings, landscaping and outdoor lighting.

Funds still needed: About $60,000.

Where it stands: Construction began on the addition in mid-October and framing was done by the end of November. Completion, and a ribbon-cutting, is expected in April.

Wellfleet Historical Society and Museum

Location: 266 Main St., Wellfleet

Project: The current Phase I involves an exterior restoration to what existed circa 1900, including tearing down two additions; installing new windows and doors; painting and creating a future new entrance, with a porch; and creating a garden with historically appropriate plants and a courtyard at the front of the building. Phase 2 will be an interior renovation, including an elevator and handicapped-accessible bathrooms (with accessibility considered “Phase 1.5”), and reworked and expanded gallery space. Phase 3 is due to include more interior renovations and expanded meeting/lecture space.

Estimated cost: $1 million to $1.25 million for the first two phases, with cost of additional work yet to be determined.

Funds still needed: The current $500,000 phase has been covered with state and town grants and private donations. Fundraising is starting for what officials say could be another $500,000 to $750,000, with a full capital campaign expected this summer.

Where it stands: Last fall, two additions to the main building were torn down as part of the ongoing work on the exterior, which is due to be completed by the late June reopening. “Phase 1.5” is targeted to take place in 2020, with no date yet set for the rest of Phase 2 and Phase 3.

Cape Rep Theatre

Location: 3299 Route 6A, Brewster

Project: Completing the renovation of the historic 1889 Crosby Barn (across a lawn from its main Indoor Theatre) to include a flexible space for performances, receptions and planned “conservatory” classes; small studios; a bar area and a catering kitchen. There will be a 475-square-foot addition for bathrooms to the 2,600-square-foot barn.

Estimated cost: $1.2 million to $1.5 million

Funds still needed: Recently won town approval for $410,000 in Community Preservation Act funding; now applying for grants and planning a capital campaign, likely to launch publicly in late summer, for the remaining $800,000 to $1.1 million

Where it stands: The 2017 first phase of renovation ($550,000) stabilized the structure and put in a full basement, creating needed storage space. Some work is starting now on new renovation work, and officials hope to begin using the space in 2020.

Cape Playhouse

Location: 820 Route 6A, Dennis

Project: Renovations of the historic theatre, its outbuildings and grounds, based on a just-completed evaluation. Most critical repairs will be securing the building from weather, correcting grading issues to direct water away from the theatre, updating heating and ventilation

Estimated cost: $2 million for “initial improvements,” phased over several years, but estimates not yet received for any work.

Funds still needed: Unknown at present; some money raised for heating/ventilation work last year, but funds needed will depend on estimates for work.

Where it stands: Following recent completion of a feasibility and technical assistance study, officials plan to move as soon as possible on the most critical repairs. They are in planning stages for fundraising and construction timelines for all work, but timeline to be determined.

Cape Cod Museum of Art

Location: 60 Hope Lane, Dennis

Project: After recent installation of a new roof, continue upgrade of museum building, potentially including shingling, doors and windows; visitor workflow; infrastructure (plumbing, electrical and more); collection storage area; and exhibition and education space.

Estimated cost: To be determined, based on a study due to be completed in spring.

Funds still needed: To be determined.

Where it stands: A study of repair work is ongoing, with results expected by spring. Decisions on what projects to take on and potential cost will be made then.

Oceanside Performing Arts Center

Location: Proposed to be on a 40-acre site of the Twin Brooks Golf Course behind the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center at the West End Rotary in Hyannis

Project: A state-of-the-art “arts village” in a natural setting with Cape Symphony and Cape Conservatory as anchor tenants, with a 1,200- to 1,400-seat concert hall, outdoor performance space, classrooms and performance areas, and an events venue.

Estimated cost: $5 million for Phase 1, which would include purchase of land (which must occur by December under current agreement), architectural rendering of possible designs, studies on traffic, environmental impact and more. Additional costs for construction would be determined following studies and design choice.

Funds still needed: $5 million for Phase 1

Where it stands: Proponents want to complete studies and drawings by summer; a projected goal for opening is 2023.

Cotuit Center for the Arts

Location: 4404 Route 28, Cotuit

Project: Redesigning the centre’s 7.5-acre campus to add classrooms, performance spaces (including a proposed 400-seat theatre and an outdoor stage), a teaching kitchen and various community places to gather.

Estimated cost: $1 million for the current Phase 2, which includes design development, engineering, permitting and septic planning — plus paving parking areas and converting a former gas station into a ceramics studio. Costs for three possible future phases over several years are to be determined this winter, based on designs.

Funds still needed: The centre raised more than $1.1 million by Dec. 31, so funding for Phase 2 is complete. Costs for future phases to be determined.

Where it stands: The centre raised $600,000 for the 2017 purchase at auction of 1 1/2 acres of adjacent Route 28 land, and for last year’s demolition of the bakery and gas tanks on that land, and to create additional parking. Officials and architects will soon meet with town and Cape Cod Commission officials to get their input on what might be possible and determine a design by February or March for phased expansion. The ceramics studio is expected to be up and running sometime this year.

College Light Opera Company

Location: 6.5-acre campus for living/rehearsal for the resident summer theatre company on Chapoquoit Road, West Falmouth

Project: A new 9,000-square-foot rehearsal and storage space; renovations to the historic inn that is now the main living, office and rehearsal space; renovate and expand two of four residential cottages; update the campus septic system; improve parking lots

Cost: $3.9 million

Funds still needed: $1.8 million, but an anonymous donor has pledged a $1 million challenge grant. About $425,000 must be raised by March to get that $1 million donation, then another $400,000 will be needed to fully fund the project.

Where it stands: Officials need to meet soon with town boards, and hope to start Phase 1 — a centralized, modern septic system — this spring; if that’s delayed, work will begin in the fall. The goal is to have the rehearsal barn built by summer 2020, and work on existing buildings would take place after that.

Lillie Auditorium at Marine Biological Laboratory

Location: 7 MBL St., Woods Hole

Project: Renovations/improvements that will include upgrading the stage, adding a larger projection screen, and installing lecture-capture and live-stream technology to enable use for a broader variety of programming and events for community and scientific gatherings

Cost: $400,000

Funds still needed: $200,000 to match a state grant

Where it stands: The MBL is in final stages of securing matching funds from a private donor. Completion of the renovations is projected to be spring 2020, depending on funds.

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Online: https://bit.ly/2QKC6qw

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Information from: Cape Cod (Mass.) Times, http://www.capecodtimes.com

Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll, The Associated Press