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Arts Council Delays Its Fall Move To New Shopping Center Facility

Candace Braun

The Arts Council of Princeton has announced that it will not be able to move to the conTEMPORARY Arts Center at the Princeton Shopping Center until Friday, October 21.

While planning a late summer move to its temporary facility, the Arts Council had already taken precautions to ensure that the moving date wouldn't disrupt its fall schedule of classes. Unexpected construction delays have held back the move, which will mean that all of the first week's classes will take place in the Arts Council's Paul Robeson Building at 102 Witherspoon Street, from October 17 to October 20.

Friday and Saturday classes will be postponed one week and then start October 28 and 29 at the Shopping Center space, located adjacent to Eckerd Pharmacy. All adult ceramics classes will start on the previously scheduled dates at the off-site ceramics studio at 5 Crescent Avenue in Rocky Hill.

"Normally classes start the second week in September," said Arts Council spokesperson Randi Lund, noting that they had already pushed back the starting date by a month to ensure that the new facility would be ready before classes resumed in the fall.

However, various factors, including work on the shopping center facility's dark room, which will be more advanced than the one that has been used in previous years, have caused the Arts Council to delay the move.

"[The new facility] will probably be ready by October 17, but we needed to make sure we'd have the certificate of occupancy in time," said Ms. Lund, noting that the delay is also a precaution to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

"A lot of our supplies are already packed up," she added, noting that many classroom items have remained in storage since the Arts Council held its summer programming at the Princeton Junior School. Supplies will now have to be unpacked, and then repacked in order to get the classrooms ready at the new facility by October 24.

In addition, the Charles Ilich ArtTools exhibition, which was due to open with a reception at the new facility on October 22, can now only be viewed in the courtyard window of the new space, but will open to the public on October 24. The artist reception and open house celebration of the new space has been postponed to Saturday, October 29, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Work on the new Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, to be constructed in the old facility's location on Witherspoon Street, should begin by the end of the month, said Ms. Lund. Construction is expected to be completed by the spring of 2007.

"Hopefully everything will fall into place," she said, noting that there has been some concern regarding the cost of the construction due to rising oil prices.

Classes and other programs to be scheduled in the future will also be held at the Princeton Public Library, the YMCA, the Suzanne Patterson Center, and the Princeton University Art Museum, as well as various other locations at the University.

With the expansion approved by the Regional Planning Board of Princeton in June 2004, the Arts Council held a ground-breaking ceremony for the new facility early this summer, announcing that the new 16,740-square foot facility will add more than 8,000 square feet to the current building.

Recent fund-raising efforts toward the $7.5 million capital campaign have included a yard sale held last month, as well as the annual Dining by Design fund-raiser with the theme of "Casablanca," to be held this Saturday in homes in and around Princeton, followed by an auction of donated items at the Princeton Airport.

For more information on changes to the Arts Council's fall class schedule, visit www.artscouncilofprinceton.org, or call (609) 924-8777, ext. 106.


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