THE HISTORY OF THE CAPEVERDEAN CULTURAL CENTER
A Center previously known as the famous Strand Theater of New Bedford
The Strand Theater offered many different kinds of entertainment, under a variety of names, during its 85 years of existence. It featured vaudeville, silent movies, Hollywood blockbusters, foreign films and much more. Cordelia Vien built the theater just north of Coggeshall Street in 1905, and named it after herself - The Vien Theater. It was live shows in that era - comedians, singers, acrobats, 'exotic dancers.' Many of the performers lodged across the Avenue at the notorious Waverly Hotel, later called the Touraine. The Viens sold the theater to the Marcus Loew chain in 1923. Loew renamed it the Strand, and for three decades or so the cinematic great ones lit up the screen: Bogart and Bacall, Tracy and Gable - you get the picture. In 1950 the theater was treated to a major renovation and given a new name, the Center. In the 1950s the Center tried a different format for a while, foreign films, kicking off the new approach with Gina Lollobrigida in Bread, Love and Dreams in 1956. During that period, class and culture were all the rage, with the New Bedford Art Group displaying paintings and sculpture in the lobby. The former Theatre was built in 1896 and it contains 5400 square feet. It has 400 orchestra seats and 400 balcony seats. In 1990, the theater was the victim of a major fire.
The building was then purchased by Capeverdean Association In New Bedford in 1992, to make it the Capeverdean Cultural Center. The building is located at 1157 Acushnet Avenue New Bedford, MA. This center will serve, educate and support the New Bedford Community with a variety of programs and services.
The Capeverdean Association In New Bedford is a 501(C) (3) non-profit association. All donations are tax deductible.
In 1990, the building caught fire causing major demage including part of the flat roof. At this stage of our development, our goal is to secure funds and materials to remodel the building. In order to comply with regulations some of the following repairs and improvements are needed: Repair the high ceiling to match the architectural design, install new electrical wiring including light fixtures and outlets, install heating system and renovate the inside to bring it up to code.
Our needs are extensive, yet we believe that with the help of fundraisers, the State, City, corporations, small businesses, members and supporters, we will achieve our goal of having a Capeverdean Cultural Center that is fully operational to serve the community. There are many ways in which you can contribute to this important project, by donating your time and expertise, helping with different tasks, donating construction materials, monetary donation, etc.
All of our current community-wide fundraising events and other programs will support our present mission and all who work and volunteer for, or on behalf of our CVANB organization, understand, and are loyal to that mission and purpose and must follow the proper protocols of our non-profit organization.
With your support and with the dedication of numerous individuals, we have completed our new roof, installed a sign on the building and finished work on a new handicap accessible unisex restroom. Again we invite you to continue your support by making a donation to help in the next phase of restoration work, wich is repair the facade, heating, plumbing and electrical system, front lobby, doors and windows, and staff office. Our goal is to raise $100,000 in the upcoming months so that we can accomplish this phase of the project by summer 2015.
The scope of the work is broad. The CVCC project will facilitate four main objectives:
- Leadership, Advocacy, and Civic Information
- Educational, Cultural, and Youth programs
- Basic living skills and preparing for the Future
- Secure funding sources for support services
PROPOSED PROJECT SCHEDULE
Cleanup activities are expected to have mostly positive impact on the inside of the building itself, preparing it for the real work that is ahead of us. In general, the clean-up work will just remediate present conditions and give space for the inside work of the re-building to start once we get the funds we need.