Braintree Community Arts Center on track for spring opening

By Natalie Ornell
The Patriot Ledger
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BRAINTREE – What had been a long-vacant former doctor’s house on Washington Street will soon open as a community arts center.

Students from the Blue Hills Regional Technical School worked during the last school year to transform the two-story colonial at 1969 Washington St. – once part of Norfolk County Hospital – into an arts center.

They gained experience as they replaced windows and the roof, did interior demolition and framing work and made the building handicapped-accessible.

Barbara Sullivan, a member of the Braintree Community Arts Center committee, said the arts center should open in the spring.

Donations are needed so furnishings can be bought, she said. The planned purchases include equipment, chairs, computers and basic needs such as paper towels.

The renovation work was funded primarily with about $225,000 from the town’s Community Preservation Act account, which contains money from a property-tax surcharge and matching funds provided by the state.

A community arts center is “a nice missing piece we didn’t have in Braintree,” Sullivan said. “There will be all sorts of activities for people to go to – not only painting and drawing, but also music and gardening.

“I think it’s going to evolve. …It would be great to have seniors teach kids knitting.”

Laura Graziano, another member of the Braintree Community Arts Center committee, said Hingham and Milton are among the other local towns where residents can go to take classes.

“Anything that we (in Braintree) have that’s like that is private,” she said.

The arts center will offer classes for all ages. A schedule has not been established.

There will be a small membership fee.

Donations can be sent to: Braintree Community Arts Center, P.O. Box 850216, Braintree, MA 02185. Checks should be made payable to the Braintree Community Arts Center.

Reach Natalie Ornell at nornell@ledger.com.