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Has Chelsea Center for the Arts closed its doors?

CCA logo(Publisher’s note: I plan to speak with a CCA board member later today for more details.)

Below is an email that was sent yesterday to folks taking the Music Together Class at Chelsea Center for the Arts from Tara Vesprini, an instructor there.

“I write this note still in shock from the email I received from the CCA today. Apparently, due to dire financial circumstances, the CCA has closed operations effective immediately. All classes, camps and lessons have been canceled. All operations at the CCA have stopped. There will be no class tomorrow.

Further, the CCA plans to send a letter to all families currently enrolled with more of an explanation.

Though it has been publicly known that the non-profit CCA was experiencing difficulty, we were led to believe solutions were in the mix. I don’t think any of the instructors were expecting this drastic move.

At this time I have no more information.

I apologize on behalf of the CCA and tell you sincerely that I am very upset.  I love to teach the Music Together program and will seek an alternative license opportunity for the future.

Chelsea will truly feel the absence of the quality and rich experiences the CCA offered people of all ages.”
With sincere sadness, Tara Vesprini

Here’s a timeline I was able to put together.

  1. In November, 2013, Lisa Baylis Gonzales resigned as executive director.
  2. Anne Williams, who was president of the Board of Directors, took over as interim executive director.
  3. Rick Taylor, who was vice president of the board at the time, moved into the president’s position
  4. In March, he resigned due to work obligations.
  5. Shannon Kuchera became president of the board of directors in March.

 

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4 thoughts on “Has Chelsea Center for the Arts closed its doors?”

  1. Dear Tara and Others:

    As my name is mentioned above, I would like to make some comments. I left the CCA to accept a very attractive
    position.

    I first was involved with the CCA as a Board member,
    and then became Executive Director. Shortly after
    I joined the Board, the CCA was faced with nearly
    insurmountable financial difficulties caused by the need
    for critical building repairs, on top of a financial
    picture that had been declining for several years.
    Had I not raised considerable funds within a relatively
    short period of time, the CCA would have been forced to
    closed its doors. But there were also many infrastructure
    needs, and the CCA had lost many of its volunteers and
    donors over the prior period. I was able to continue to
    raise significant funds through grant sources, and
    develop some donations, but contributions had historically been low, for an organization of the CCA’s size, including
    from the Board members. In addition, the cost structure
    of the CCA meant that it was overly subsidizing programs,
    as fees for programs barely covered the many costs to
    produce programs(instructors, registration software, accounting/billing,utilities, supplies, etc.) Higher fees
    did not seem in order, in the Chelsea market, and yet
    reductions in some costs had been opposed. The CCA has
    always presented very high quality programs, and had
    outstanding instructors. Although I do not know of the
    current situation of the CCA, I believe that arts and
    culture are critical components to any desirable community with a high quality of life. Financial support for the CCA
    (as well as The Purple Rose, the Chelsea District Library and other arts and culture activities), will help to make
    Chelsea the wonderful community that it is!
    Thank you.
    Lisa Baylis Gonzalez

  2. As a parent who had children enrolled in 4 CCA camps, totaling tuition of $800.00, I am appalled that the CCA knowingly took our tuition when their closure was imminent. If anyone else has lost tuition and is interested in pursuing a class action suit or other legal action, please contact me. The CCA will have to sell it’s assets, so some money may become available.

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