Our Story

 

The Community Art Center has been a cornerstone institution for Cambridge residents since it was founded in 1937 by a group of local parents. The Art Center found its first home in a basement space at the Newtowne Court Housing Development in 1938 and functioned as the community center for both Newtowne Court and eventually Washington Elms.

 

By 1980, the Art Center received its first state contract and childcare license, allowing us to improve services and expand our reach.

 

In 1996, Teen Media Program teens founded the Do It Your Damn Self!! National Youth Film Festival - the first film festival in the country completely curated and coordinated by youth. Then, in 1999, with the help of the Cambridge Housing Authority, we moved into a facility across the street from Newtowne Court, which offers a health clinic and other community services.

 

In 2000, we completed a successful capital campaign that raised $145,000 to build-out a specialized editing studio, darkroom, computer lab, and pottery studio.

 

Read more about our recent accomplishments and achievements below:

 

2006

President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities awards Teen Media Program Coming up Taller Award.

 

2007

The Art Center receives Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development capital improvements grant.

 

2011 

We strengthen our organizational structure and improve our sustainability and further support our growth:

  • Comprehensive Strategic Plan is completed. Implementation of newly evolved program structure begins.

 

  •  Capital campaign a success, resulting in complete facility renovation.

 

2012

Our new Community Programs launched, increasing the amount of  after school activities and public art in the Port/Area IV:

  • Executive Director Eryn Johnson receives Creative Activist Award from ArtCorps.

 

  • This is Where We Live, Work and Create Public Art Initiative is launched through a block long mural and gallery commissioned by Novartis Pharmaceuticals which will be on view for through 2016.

 

  • One9TEEN After Dark offers first evening programs for teens in collaboration with Cambridge Boys and Girls Club and Tutoring Plus

 

2013

We enhanced our community partnerships, increasing and improving our collaborations with local corporations, businesses and organizations:

  • Alexandria Real Estate commissions a 160 foot mural on their East Cambridge construction site, which will be created by Teen Media Program Digital Arts Studio.

 

  • Executive Director, Eryn Johnson works with a group of ten social justice focused Cambridge-based non-profit leaders to form the new Cambridge Non-profit Coalition.

 

  • The Community Art Center and Novartis are awarded the “Central in Motion Award” from the Central Square Business Association for “exemplifying community collaboration that adds to our culture, landscapes, enhances our neighborhoods, and makes Central Square unique.”

 

2014 - 2015

Our school age and teen programs evolve with the support of funders, and the reach of our community programs and public art initiatives grows:

  • TMP teens complete a 160 foot mural entitled Portraits of the Port, commissioned by MIT and mounted on Main Street across from the Newtowne Court Housing Development.

 

  • Our Family Art Initiative is funded by the Department of Education’s After School and Out of School Time Initiative.

 

  • Our Creative Approaches to Therapeutic Support initiative is funded by C.F. Adams Trust.

 

  • The Port Arts Council is formed and includes 21 residents, parents, business owners and teens.

 

  • Community Programs kicks of the Port Stories Public Art Project by curating our first concert series in Kendall Square and Newtowne Court, the Change for Peace Art and Music Series.

 

  • TMP teens present art exhibits in Kendall Square, MIT Museum, Cambridge City Hall and VMWare.

 

  • SACC youth create a mural installed in Tech Square and perform an interdisciplinary original play, REBEL, about the Haitian Revolution, at the Cambridge YMCA.

 

1950's - Hanging out in Newtowne Court

1970's - Having fun in the summer

1960's - Relaxing in our old basement space

1980's - Improving our artistry

1990's - Providing leadership for youth

Mid-1990's -  Launching DIYDS!! 

Early 2000's - Dancing at 119 Windsor

2014 - Creating with the community

Now - Celebrating our past, building our future!