For better or worse, I’m not a Carl or an Ole. I got my undergraduate degree (in Government, with a comparative politics focus) from Wesleyan in Middletown, Connecticut. An article in the 2005 Issue 1 of the Wesleyan magazine was of particular interest to me: SCHOOL OF DREAMS: The newly opened Green Street Arts Center brings hope to a troubled neighborhood in the North End of Middletown.
Wesleyan built a community arts center for Middletown called the Green Street Arts Center. Working with the local non-profit NEAT (the North End Action Team), Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts determined that the best way to achieve outreach to the community was to build the community an arts center.
The leadership on this initiative came from Wesleyan’s Vice President, Peter Patton. According to the article, Vice President Patton understood that “NEAT wanted a community center: a gathering place, a source of pride, and a central hub”.
Wesleyan determined that “the center had to be built with the same eye to quality and pride that Wesleyan would lavish on a central-campus building. A little storefront wouldn’t be a beacon for the commmunity”.
The college and community team found a perfect location for the project: “a hulking old brick building” that had once been the parochial school for St. Sebastian’s church. “With its generous rooms and tall windows, it was easy to imagine sunlight streaming in on classrooms filled once again with laughing children”.
“With much hard work, the funding began to fall into place through city, state and federal money, as well as a $500,000 gift from an anonymous alumnus” who directed the gift to the project at the urging of Wesleyan President Douglas Bennet.
Now that the building is open, Wesleyan continues its support of the Green Street Arts Center through programming.
The Kamau Jazz Trio performs at the Grand Opening of the Green Street Arts Center.