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ArtsCenter in Carrboro considering move to new location on South Greensboro Street

Ed Camp, former executive director of the ArtsCenter in Carrboro, stands outside the ArtsCenter in December 2010.

Ed Camp, former executive director of the ArtsCenter in Carrboro, stands outside the ArtsCenter in December 2010.

Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Bethany Chaney said there is talk of co-locating departments in the Century Center, such as the parks and recreation department or the sheriff’s department.

“I think it would be a real terrific partnership if we could collaborate and use our public space in creative ways,” she said.

The ArtsCenter, a nonprofit founded in 1974, offers public service programs with a community of artists through classes, showcases and concerts. The organization is Orange County’s largest employer of artists, with a local economic impact of over $3,200,000, 103 full time jobs and $301,000 in state and local tax revenue.

“Right now the ArtsCenter space is inadequate. It’s not large enough for the scale of activities, it needs a lot of technological upgrades and it’s currently in kind of an awkward location,” Chaney said.

In the past, the ArtsCenter once proposed to help finance a new building without paying rent. Chaney said it was a large commitment for the Board of Aldermen and it didn’t settle well with community members, who knew their taxes would pay for it.

“The ArtsCenter would fund its own move and would put its own capital resources into the deal,” Chaney said.

Daniel Mayer, the ArtsCenter executive director, said it would be at least three to five years before they begin packing boxes.

The ArtsCenter has been in the same location for almost 30 years.

“We need to find a new home that can be a long term place that can grow our programs for the community,” said Mayer. “When it was built, we served 40,000, and now we serve over 100,000 each year.”

Mayer said if the organization moved out of their facility, they would put it up for sale.

Another alternative plan for the nonprofit is to remodel the current facility.

Orange County Commissioner Mark Marcoplos said that if a new building is created for the library and the ArtsCenter, a large public parking lot would be removed. He said parking will have to be a big part of the design, to ensure that other local businesses are accommodated.

“I’m hopeful we can come up with a plan that enables the ArtsCenter to achieve its goal and to grow and remain financially stable,” said Chaney.

The ArtsCenter has been in the town for decades, and town officials plan to continue supporting the organization.

“It’s an important part of Carrboro, there’s no question about it.” said Marcoplos.

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