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Now that the ArtsCenter is out of The 203 Project, what's next?

The Arts Center
The ArtsCenter, a venue for various performance events and visual art exhibits in Carrboro, pictured on Jan. 17, 2019.

While Carrboro's ArtsCenter decided last month to pull out of The 203 Project, a planned multi-purpose community space in Carrboro, the center still plans to relocate its facility in the coming years.

The 203 Project, an ongoing effort by the Town of Carrboro and Orange County, is set to be built in the existing parking lot at 203 S. Greensboro St. 

According to the project's website, the main purpose of the facility is to provide opportunities for education, art and togetherness. The Center hopes to be a catalyst for improving the quality of life in the area.

The ArtsCenter, along with many other organizations, came together to become a part of The 203 Project. Recently, however, the center announced its decision to pull back from the project.

Daniel Mayer, executive director at the ArtsCenter, said the project was on a timetable that did not align with the ideas of the center.

“We really need a new facility sooner rather than later," Mayer said. "There’s a lot of complexity to The 203 Project, and we needed something that was more straightforward in terms of the planning and construction."

Bethany Chaney, a member of the Board of Aldermen, said she believes an important reason behind why the ArtsCenter left the project was a strategic decision for their organization. She said the ArtsCenter is having to greatly consider what it will take to relocate to its new space.

She also stressed the need for fundraising.

“The number one thing is that the ArtsCenter is going to need to do some significant fundraising in order to relocate to whatever space they choose," Chaney said. “They need something that can meet their budget but can also meet their long-term needs.”

Mayer said the ArtsCenter will be moving to its new location at some point in the years to come to accommodate the rising number of visitors the center has received since its opening in the 1970s. The building the ArtsCenter currently occupies is an old Piggly Wiggly grocery store, and it simply no longer fulfills the needs of the group, he said.

The ArtsCenter will be able to comment more in the coming months on plans to obtain a new space, Mayer said. He said that the Center will also be able to share more in the future about why this set of plans is better suited for the facility and their timetable.

The Board of Aldermen will continue to meet to discuss the development of the project. It also has done public presentations to share more information with the community.

“We are not necessarily out there looking for another partner," Chaney said. "There will more likely than not still be space built into that building that can accommodate another organization or entity."


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