Sandwich Arts Alliance Hosts Grand Opening For New Gallery In Historic Town Hall

THE ENTERPRISE – The Sandwich Arts Alliance has officially opened the doors to its new gallery and gift shop in the historic town hall at 130 Main Street.

Senator Susan Moran, left, and Representative Steven Xiarhos, right, present Alliance president Kathy Aubin with an official citation, image by Gene Marchand

On Friday, October 27, the alliance held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebrated its new home.

“This iconic building, with its rich legacy as the seat of Sandwich town government since 1834, is now the heart of our artistic community,” alliance president Katherine A. Aubin said. “It is a place where creativity will flourish, and the arts will come alive in ways we have never seen before.”

The town hall was first built in 1834 to assist with the separation of church and state, Town Manager George (Bud) Dunham said. Sandwich was one of the first municipalities in the state to build a designated place for town meetings and government to occur, as at the time it was common for such activities to occur in churches.

“The building represented a remarkable expression of civic pride that residents had in our town,” Mr. Dunham said.

It was built for just $4,138.32 and fully constructed in just one year, he said. Over the years, the building housed local businesses, town government, enlistment offices for World Wars I and II, and more.

Deborah Fenn, of New York, who is visiting her son, looks through some mounted pieces in the Sandwich Arts Alliance gift shop, image by Gene Marchand

When town officials moved into their new offices on Route 6A a year ago, they were left with the puzzle of what to do with the building they left behind. They wished to maintain the public meeting space in the upstairs auditorium but did not want all the rooms downstairs to go to waste.

In May, the board of selectmen unanimously agreed to award a lease of the space to the alliance, which quickly began working to renovate the space to better fit its needs. To assist with the renovations, the alliance received a $200,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The space was outfitted with lights, hooks and everything else needed to hang up and showcase art. A gift shop, workshop and classroom were set up, and the alliance was ready to open up its new doors.

Arts alliance founder Joanne Westerhouse noted that the building is a perfect home for the alliance, because when the alliance was created eight years ago and it was selecting a logo, members were inspired by the building and the fleur-de-lis symbols painted on the ceiling of the upstairs auditorium.

A staging of what an art class might look like, image by Gene Marchand

During the ceremony, state Representative Steven G. Xiarhos and state Senator Susan Moran presented the alliance with a citation from the State House that read: “Recognizing the Alliance’s contributions to greater Cape Cod, empowering arts and culture, enriching its communities, and the nonprofit’s successful growth and longevity since 2015.”

After a few brief remarks from Ms. Aubin; David Slattery, deputy executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council; Rep. Xiarhos and Sen. Moran, the ribbon was cut, and the arts alliance’s new gallery in the historic building was opened officially.

The building was abuzz with excitement and creative spirit as alliance members, volunteers and guests wandered the building, enjoying the art and embracing the new space.

Visitors peruse the gift shop, image by Gene Marchand

Currently, the alliance’s new gallery is showcasing the works of the Fall Members Exhibit, which will be on display until November 15. After that exhibit, the alliance will be showcasing the Holiday Small Works exhibit.

Read more . . .

By Madison Schofield

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