SCCA in need of masonry sealant

Published 2:59 pm Thursday, January 27, 2022

To the editor:

We are writing in regard to the article published on Jan. 26, 2022, “Structural issues at arts center an ‘existential threat’ to building, mission.”

As the title of the article implied, the leaks in this beautiful building have wreaked damage. Several spaces within the building are closed to the public, and safety will become a growing concern. If we cannot stop the leaks, the building will eventually become unusable.

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We were delighted to receive approval from Suffolk’s Historic Landmarks Commission for several important phases of our repair and renovation work, including the replacement of rotting windows, and the installation of new flashings and cornices. This work will commence in the spring — but the work can’t stop there. Our brick-and-mortar walls have become very porous over 100 years, and they will continue to leak unless we can seal the masonry. The technology exists, but the building won’t look the same. Actually, we think it will look even better.

In a normal year, the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts hosts over 30,000 people for performances, classes, gallery exhibits, weddings, and more. Every other Wednesday, we welcome third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders from every public elementary school in Suffolk for art classes. Every Thursday, we host homeschool children for art, music and dance classes. This spring, we’re hosting a Motown show, a bluegrass show, dance recitals, yoga classes, a writing workshop for veterans, painting classes, student art shows, a decoy carving workshop, author lectures, and so much more. Last year, 30% of the students in our art and music summer camps attended on full scholarship. Truly, we are an arts center for our entire community.

This building holds deep memories for many folks in Suffolk, and we are honored to be stewards of this rich history. If we want this landmark to be used and treasured for generations to come, we must safeguard the building and seal the walls from leaks. We look forward to finding a solution with the city and the community to do just that.

 

David Love, Chairman of the Board, Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts

Lorelei Costa, CEO and Executive Director, Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts