Dartmouth Cultural Center plans fall opening at Old Southworth Library

Aug 1, 2018

The Dartmouth Cultural Center at the Old Southworth Library in Padanaram Village is one step closer to becoming a reality, as the non-profit arts center was once again the only group to bid for a potential lease of the historic building.

Requests for proposals for a lease of the town-owned 404 Elm Street building closed on July 10. Town officials have not yet awarded the lease, due to some minor details that need to be worked out, but both the town and the group are hopeful they will be able to sign the contract and open soon, according to Kathleen DelSordo, the group's facilitator.

The group applied to lease the building, and plans on doing historical restoration work on the building over time, in addition to making it handicap accessible.

The Dartmouth Cultural Center had a booth full of art at the Padanaram Village Summer Festival, where members were handing out brochures listing dozens of classes they hope to launch this fall, and for which registration will begin online on August 6.

“We feel like we have to get the word out at this point,” said Karen Zukas, the program director. “We are confident that we can pull it off and increase it year after year.”

Planned classes are mostly aimed at adults, and include everything from sushi workshops to botanical drawing, basket-making, and playwriting classes. Classes are priced individually, and there will be a $5 registration fee to help fund scholarships.

Most classes will be held at the Old Southworth Library at 404 Elm St, but the ceramics classes will be held off-site at ARTSCAPES at 665 Orchard St in New Bedford.

The Dartmouth Cultural Center is also planning a membership program, including individual and family memberships along with higher tiers for those who would like to give more. Member benefits would include a $10 discount on classes and a $5 discount on workshops, along with eligibility to participate in DCC exhibitions and images of member’s work and a listing on their website.

The historic Elm Street building dates back to 1889, and has remained vacant since its last tenant, Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, moved to a new headquarters in 2016. The group, then called Save Old Southworth, submitted a proposal in 2017 but convinced town officials to hold another round of requests to give the group more time to work through issues relating to its original proposal.

More information is available online at www.dartmouthculturalcenterinc.org.