THE HISTORY OF THE CAPEVERDEAN CULTURAL CENTER - 2012
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 a group of volunteer members of the Capeverdean Association of New Bedford, who in 1990 lend money to buy the building, to make it the Capeverdean Cultural Center on 1157 Acushnet Avenue New Bedford, MA. This center will serve, educate and support the Capeverdean community with a variety of programs.
Because of the fire in 1990, the building is in need of extensive interior work, as well as new roof and façade. The Capeverdean Association of New Bedford is a 501(C) (3) non-profit association. All donations are tax deductible. At this stage of our development, our mission is to secure funds and materials to remodel our building. In order to comply with regulations some of the following repairs and improvements are needed such as a roof replacement due to its poor condition, plus approximately one fourth of the ceiling needs to be restored to match the architectural design, and the entire ceiling needs to be painted, the inside walls need to be repaired and painted. The entire building needs plumbing and electrical work including light fixtures and outlets. Female and Male bathrooms need a full renovation and one additional handicap required by the state. Sprinkler and Fire alarm needs repair to bring it up to code.
Our needs are extensive, yet we believe that with the help of the state, city small businesses, members and supporters, we will achieve our goal of having a Capeverdean Cultural Center fully operational to the community. There are many ways in which you can contribute to this important project, be it donation of your time and expertise helping with different tasks, donate materials such as paint, and many more ways.
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 CVA~NB organization, understand, and are loyal to that mission and purpose and must follow the proper protocols of our non-profit organization.
The scope of the work is broad and the CVCC project will facilitate four main objectives:
1. Leadership, Advocacy, and Civic Information
2. Educational, Cultural, and Youth programs
3. Basic living skills and preparing for the Future
4. 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.