Written by Jacques Lamarre

Charter Oak Cultural Center Announces Acquisition of Historic Property, Expansion of Youth Arts Campus, and Capital Campaign

Arts, Culture and Social Justice Non-Profit to Expand and Upgrade Downtown Campus, Serve Double the Number of Hartford Youth

Charter Oak Cultural Center unveiled today the acquisition of an adjacent historic property, major renovation and restoration work on their own iconic synagogue structure, and the creation of a youth arts campus in downtown Hartford.
A three-year capital campaign that has raised $3.6 million toward this initiative requires an additional $900,000, expected to be raised this summer. With an anticipated groundbreaking in mid-2021, the expanded campus is anticipated to be fully completed in fall 2022.
In February 2021, Charter Oak Cultural Center closed on the purchase of 26 Charter Oak Avenue, a 4,800 square foot building. Built in 1858, the Italianate structure known as the Hyde-St. John House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and formerly served as the home of Hartford Mayor William Waldo Hyde. An adjacent carriage house and parking were also acquired during the purchase.
Directly adjacent to Charter Oak Cultural Center’s property at 21 Charter Oak Avenue, the new building will allow for substantial growth and expansion of the arts and social justice non-profit’s programs including classes, programming, and community served. Highlights of the capital improvements include:

  • Restoration of Charter Oak’s 1876 historic synagogue building and the renovation of the newly purchased buildings.
  • Improvements to the surrounding grounds allowing for the creation of a unique youth arts education campus in the middle of downtown Hartford.
  • Expansion from three to eight state-of-the-art instructional spaces and a seasonal outdoor classroom space. With the new classrooms, Charter Oak expects to double the number of arts and music courses offered from 20 to 40 thereby expanding the number of Hartford children and youth served from 1,000 to 1,500. 
  • Charter Oak’s Visual Arts Gallery will be updated and expanded to allow for larger, more interactive visual arts exhibitions. 
  • The Sanctuary for Performing Arts, Charter Oak’s main performance space, will be restored to its late 19th century glory complete with over 20 restored stained glass windows. In addition, there will be new lighting and sound equipment, plus an expansion of the stage to accommodate larger performances. 
  • New parking lot with enhanced handicap accessibility. 

Charter Oak Cultural Center Executive Director Rabbi Berman states, ““We are so delighted to create this campus for Charter Oak to be able to serve more children in our expanded space, to be able to open our arms even wider to the community.” 

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