The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday May 26th

Aldermen hear a proposal for new ArtsCenter facility

When Carrboro residents want socks, they can’t buy them locally — and Alderman Sammy Slade wishes that just wasn’t so.

A new facility for The ArtsCenter might help Slade’s problem. The Board of Aldermen received an initial proposal for the facility during its meeting Tuesday night.

Phil Szostak, the architect for the proposed facility, said the building will have space for classrooms, a business incubator, performance rooms and commercial sites.

The classrooms would be used for art classes and might have 3-D printers for making textiles.

After hearing the proposal, Slade said including textiles as an art form at the proposed facility was an interesting idea.

“People always say we can’t shop locally for socks,” he said. “I’m glad to hear you say textiles.”

Szostak said The ArtsCenter had worked out a deal with Main Street Properties, the developers for the 300 East Main project. The ArtsCenter could trade its current building for space directly across the road owned by the developers.

Alderman Damon Seils said he would like town staff to gather more information about the proposed changes to the 300 East Main site. He asked staff to compile a large report detailing all of the changes Main Street Properties personnel planned to make to the approved project’s plans.

If dreams come true

Art Menius, the executive director of The ArtsCenter, also went before the board Tuesday to request a $40,000 grant from the town so The ArtsCenter could work with other creative agencies to craft a Cultural Arts and Entertainment Plan.

That plan would eventually lead to the creation of an arts district that might span throughout Orange County — something Menius said would spur economic development here.

Menius said he wants The ArtsCenter to be a leader in the creation of the arts district.

“If everything we dream of comes true, it would have a position of great centrality in the cultural and entertainment district,” he said.

The board tabled the proposal and asked town staff to gather additional information about the proposed district.

Printed shoes

It was six months ago when Szostak realized the kind of success a new facility for The ArtsCenter could bring for local entrepreneurs.

“I went to a party six months or so ago, and someone showed up with (3-D) printed shoes,” Szostak said. “They were the coolest things I’ve seen.”

“It went, ‘Click!’ If we had a printer at The ArtsCenter, they could really grow their company.”

The ArtsCenter staff reached out to famed Chapel Hill clothing designer Alexander Julian, who said he thinks the next big trend in fashion design is 3-D printing.

Szostak, who also designed the Durham Performing Arts Center, presented preliminary drawings for The ArtsCenter proposed facility.

The facility had large, open windows so passersby can watch dance classes or other performances, Szostak said. The theater will seat the same number of people as the current ArtsCenter building. It will also have office space for beginning artists looking to start their own business.

The board was excited to have Szostak present the project and praised his success with the design of the Durham Performing Arts Center.

“We just need to find what Carrboro is, not what Durham is on this project,” Szostak said.

city@dailytarheel.com

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