Who we are
The Cultural Center of Cape Cod is one of the most engaging and accessible cultural organizations in the region.
Our mission is to serve the entire Cape community and visitors to the area by offering instruction, entertainment, and exhibition in the visual, literary, and performing arts.
Programming at the Center reflects real needs and priorities and is echoed by its motto: All the Arts for All of Us. Perhaps the best example of our response to community is embodied by our new Education Wing, whose Culinary Arts Center, Recording Studio, Pottery Studio, and other assets fill gaps in service, especially for under-served populations.
Our calendar of events, exhibits, and educational opportunities engages people of all ages, abilities and incomes.
We support both emerging and established artists in all media and genres.
Since opening in 2007, the Center has served over 200,000 people and has received several awards, including an Adaptive Reuse award from the MA Historical Commission, a Community Impact Award from the Town of Yarmouth, and a Community Leadership in the Arts Award (selected by other non profits across the region). It is involved in regional and state-wide arts advocacy efforts and is widely recognized as a leader in both the arts and community development.
Everything that happens at the Cultural Center is predicated upon a democratic philosophy of inclusion, encouragement, and accessibility. Its performance and exhibition schedules feature a balance of both emerging and established artists. Flexible teachers lead classes for a range of ages and abilities. Prices are reasonable, and scholarships are available for those without the means to pay. Exhibits, receptions, and many other events are free. And programs for under-served populations like youth at risk—in partnership with leaders in the social services, government, and education—provide meaningful antidotes to unhealthy behaviors. Both the breadth and depth of its programming make the Center a strong and vibrant resource for the entire region.
For detailed information about the Cultural Center’s programs and finances, please contact us or register at DataArts (formerly the Cultural Data Project) at http://www.culturaldata.org/home/
In 2000, the decaying but still beautiful Bass River Savings Banks in South Yarmouth was about to undergo an amazing rebirth. Once considered an architectural treasure, the building had been vacant for seventeen years and was by now in such bad condition that it was virtually un-saleable and, increasingly, a neighborhood concern. A group of dedicated citizens therefore formed a non-profit organization in order to transform the elegant old building into a much-needed cultural center. A very generous neighbor, inspired by this monumental effort, purchased the building and donated it to the group.
So began the six years of dedicated grass roots fund raising necessary to finance extensive renovations, originally estimated at $2.3 million. For five years, the majority of funds came from a Founding Sponsor drive, with average donations of $50, and from many other fund raising events. These years were characterized by the determination and perseverance of the community, the board of trustees, and tireless volunteers. Finally, in 2006, the Town of Yarmouth voted to release $400,000 in Community Preservation Act Funds to the Cultural Center so that the renovation could be completed.
Among the many initial renovation projects were significant roof repairs, removal of hazardous waste that included whole walls of decayed lead paint and asbestos ceiling tiles, removal and replacement of corroded heating and plumbing systems, forced opening of an old vault, and dismantling of the tellers’ stations. After basic gutting, 1930s-inspired restrooms and a catering kitchen were installed. The interior was completely repainted in period color schemes, and a terrazzo floor featuring a compass rose was laid. The project was completed for $750,000, less than a third of the original estimate, thanks to the outstanding efforts of volunteer workers and the extraordinarily competent leadership of the trustees, Business Administrator Patricia Garry, and Executive Director Robert Nash.
The Cultural Center of Cape Cod finally opened its doors in 2007. Since then it has served over 200,000 people of all ages, interests, abilities, and incomes. It offers a wide range of programs, serves as both arts and community center, and works hard to serve under-served populations. And it is intent on expanding in order to increase its services. In these and other ways it is living up to its motto to support and embrace All the Arts for All of Us. But escalating demand for services led the Center, in 2011, to launch a capital campaign to build a new Education Wing, an ambitious project for any non profit in a difficult economy, but especially ambitious for one only four years old at the time.
It took four years for the Center to raise the funds for and complete the construction of its gorgeous new Education Wing, but it was worth the effort and the wait. Thanks to the generous support of the Cultural Facilities Fund (administered by the MA Cultural Council and MassDevelopment), the Yarmouth Community Preservation Fund, and private foundations and individuals—in almost equal measure—the Cultural Center was able to open its new wing in 2016.
For more information about the educational and other programs available in the new facility, please click here.
The Cultural Center of Cape Cod
307 Old Main Street
South Yarmouth, MA 02664
Monday through Friday: 9am-5pm
Every evening, by chance.
Robert M. Nash, Executive Director
Lauren Wolk, Associate Director
Amy Neill, Director of Education
Meg McNamara, Business Administrator
Laura Kelley, Membership Coordinator
Nicki Palmer, Volunteer Coordinator
Elena Tobin, Gift Shop Manager
Angela Howes, Editor
Bass River Press
Board of Trustees
James K. Saben
Marion Broidrick, Esq.
Marion Broidrick, Esq.
Steven E. James
Paul Tardiff, Esq.
Via Rte 6:
Take exit 8.
Go south off the exit ramp (right, if eastbound; left if westbound), onto Station Ave.
Go straight until Station Ave. merges with north Main Street, at an intersection with Rte. 28.
Proceed straight through the intersection and one more block. The Cultural Center is on the left.
Via Rte. 28:
Old Main Street is one block west of the Bass River Bridge.
If eastbound, turn right at the lights before the bridge, at the Speedway gas station, Riverway Lobster House.
If westbound, turn left at the lights just past the bridge, at the Speedway.
The Cultural Center is one block down, on the left.
The Cultural Center of Cape Cod, Inc., is a 501(c)3 non profit organization. Employer Identification # 04-3553295. For more information about the Cultural Center, please visit www.GuideStar.com.
Bass River Press
The Cultural Center launched Bass River Press in 2015 to support local poets. Under the leadership of Editor Angela Howes, the press will publish one full-length collection by a Cape or Islands poet each year. In time, the Press hopes to publish one book of fiction (a novel or short story collection) and one non-fiction each year as well.
“Bass River Press will be an exciting addition to an already thriving poetry culture on Cape Cod,” says Mary Ellen Redmond, award-winning poet and co-founder of the Cape Cod Poet’s Theater, with Joe Gouveia. “This is good news.”
The annual submission process will allow writers of all degrees of experience to participate. After narrowing down the submissions, Ms. Howes will send finalists to a judge for the selection of a winning manuscript.
Renowned poet Tony Hoagland was the judge for the first round of submissions. He chose Cotuit poet Judith Askew, whose collection On the Loose was published in April 2016.
Truro poet Elizabeth Bradfield judged manuscripts for publication in 2017. She selected Wild Water Child by Hyannis poet Rose Auslander.
In April 2018, the Press published Water-Dreaming by Harwich poet Deirdre Callanan. Former Rhode Island Poet Laureate Lisa Starr was the judge. The Cultural Center will host a launch party and reading on June 7th, at 7pm. All are welcome.
Current titles are available for purchase by clicking here.
A new reading period began on May 1, 2018. It will close on August 1. Full guidelines are available by clicking here.
The press accepts only original, unpublished collections of poems between 48 and 64 pages. Poets with previously published collections are eligible to submit, along with first-time poets. Individual poems previously published in chapbooks, magazines, journals, or anthologies are eligible, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished. This rule applies to self-published collections as well. Once the final collection is selected, editors at Bass River Press will arrange for distribution.
Bass River Press will serve the dual function of promoting the works of local poets and engaging the community in the literary arts. While the Cape does offer many venues and services to the performing and visual arts, few organizations exist to support the written word. However, the lack of support for writers does not equate lack of interest. Cape Cod’s current population is composed largely of avid readers who desire the accessibility of great works published by writers from their own hometowns.
“The Bass River Press would be tremendous physical tangible proof of the wealth of literary talent living on the Cape,” says published poet and Associate Director of the Edward Gorey House Gregory Hischak, who has recently been awarded a 2015 Fellowship by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. “The Cultural Center of Cape Cod has the facilities, stamina, know-how and collective patience to nurture, produce and promote such a literary publication.”
The new press will complement the work of The Cape Cod Poetry Review – which publishes annual anthologies of poems by local writers – by placing a spotlight on one particular writer each year. “Bass River Press is on the cusp of filling something that has been profoundly empty in the literary arts on Cape Cod for some time now,” says the Review’s editor, John Bonanni. The Cultural Center believes that a portrait of a single individual leaves a lasting image, and our writers deserve the opportunity to have their work widely circulated and remembered.
For more information about Bass River Press, please contact Editor Angela Howes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-394-7100. Supervising Editor Lauren Wolk can be reached at email@example.com.
Rise and Shine
Now in its eleventh year, the Rise and Shine Program offers workshops in the arts to youth at risk followed by opportunities to celebrate their work through exhibits, readings, and performances at the Cultural Center. Hundreds of students from all over the Cape have taken part in this program, one of the Center’s finest contributions to the region. Rise and Shine also provides arts mentors to youth with an interest in the visual, performing, or literary arts.
Part One: Thanks to foundation grants, the Cultural Center is able to pay qualified artist-teachers to lead workshops in schools in nearly every town on Cape Cod and at other organizations that serve youth. Rise and Shine also provides one-on-one mentoring to students referred through partners including the District Attorney’s Youth Diversion program, MA Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Committee for Public Counsel Services Youth Advocacy Department, and Cape Cod Justice for Youth Collaborative.
Part Two: The Cultural Center arranges, staffs, promotes, and hosts events and exhibits by Rise and Shine participants.
Rise and Shine is funded in part by The Massachusetts Cultural Council, several local cultural councils, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, the Davenport Foundations, the Joan Bentinck-Smith Charitable Foundation, Cape and Islands United Way, and others. We thank them for their support.
For more information about Rise and Shine — how to book a workshop, engage a mentor, or donate to the program — please contact our Director of Education Amy Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE OWL STUDIO ARTISTS
The upper floor of our new Education Wing features five artists’ studios that are always open to the public. The resident artists are frequently in the house, making art and eager to speak with visitors. These residents also host open studios during the receptions for artists exhibiting in the Cultural Center’s four main galleries. The Owl Studio Artists are: Evans Arnold, Julia Cumes, Odin Smith, Lance Walker, and the Fresh Paint Gallery Artists: Julie Blanchard, Judy Cournoyer, Claire Marcus, Robert Mesrop and Ann O’Connell. Click here for artist website information.
THE GIFT SHOP
The Cultural Center has a wonderful gift shop that highlights the work
of Cape and Islands artisans and artists: jewelry, small paintings, tiles,
books, pottery, Nantucket Lightship baskets, glass work, clothing, and
more. Quality is exceptional, but prices are reasonable.
The Cultural Center sponsors exhibition opportunities through international juried exhibits through our website. Online competitions are a great way to support artists while complementing and extending our galleries here on Cape Cod. Please visit our online galleries, APERTURES, SET IN MOTION, ABSTRACTIONS, ELEMENTS|WATER, AMPLIFY, and BLACK & WHITE.
THE OWL CAFÉ
From June through September, Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 8am-noon, the Owl Café offers both indoor and outdoor seating and an array of delicious homemade baked goods, from croissants as good as you’ll find in Paris (seriously) to muffins, bagels, and other scrumptious pastries. Plus, gourmet coffee and a chance to visit the artists’ studios, gallery exhibits, and other Cultural Center highlights.
THE AL FRESCO ARTISTS
Every Thursday, from mid-June through September, artisans and artists will
occupy the Cultural Center’s tents, selling and making work from 9am to 1:30pm,
while the Bass River Farm Market takes place across the street. Come shop for fresh, local
produce, seafood, and other amazing edibles and plants plus arts and fine crafts.
On Saturdays, the Yarmouth Art Guild will occupy our tents while the Farm Market is open for business.
NIGHT OWL RECORDINGS
Night Owl Recordings, which operates out of the Alexander D. Holmes Recording Studio at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, offers a combination of mission-driven service and cutting edge technology by leading manufacturers of industry-standard equipment such as Avid, Presonus, MOTU, Audient, Reaper, Avantone, Audix, and many others. With a hybrid concept in mind, the studio can accommodate up to 24 channels with room for expansion. Night Owl has been designed for artists to both use the in-house studio equipment and easily incorporate their own equipment for studio sessions as well.
Classes and workshops are offered for anyone interested in recording, mixing, and mastering techniques, including mic placement, acoustics, and signal processing. We also have mentoring opportunities through our Rise and Shine program (for more information about Rise and Shine click here). Also, in conjunction with Cape Cod Community Media Center, Night Owl Recordings offers workshops in Live Sound Reinforcement.
For more information on Night Owl Recordings click here.
THE GORELICK-GUEST LIBRARY
Thanks to Adele Gorelick and her generous contribution of books, time, and effort, the Cultural Center has a wonderful and very extensive library of books on art. All are welcome to spend time in our library doing research, browsing, reading, or simply looking for inspiration. The library is located in what was once the bank president’s office, right next to the vault.