Smart Growth in Action: Chandler Center for the Arts
Infill development is an important tool for smart growth and the Chandler Center for the Arts (CCFA) is a great example of how it can revitalize a community.
Originally built in 1907, this multi-use community center has had a bumpy history. At the urging of then-pastor Rev. Frazer Metzger, Colonel Chandler constructed the CCFA on the site of one of the pastor’s churches, incorporating some of the resources of the old church into the new edifice, such as beams and oak interiors. For the first 25 years of its existence, the hall enjoyed a great deal of use, from silent films and operas to school events and political meetings. After the 1927 flood, the Great Depression, and World War II, patronage declined. As in-home entertainment, such as TV, rose in popularity, the CCFA fell into disuse and disrepair.
In the late 1960s things began to turn around for the abandoned building. With the help of Federal and State assistance and support from community members, the CCFA underwent a series of renovations including a new roof and electrical work. As a result, the venue was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Today, thanks to the efforts of dozens of volunteers, as well as paid staff, the CCFA is proud to be a testament to the strength of community involvement. Their latest achievements include a successful capital campaign that funded renovations to both invigorate programming and make the entire building accessible. This historic multi-use community center now boasts roughly 60 performances, exhibitions, educational and community offerings per year, as well as organizing various outreach programs for youth. Through its Arts in the School series, which serves more than 1,300 students, and its Technical Theatre program, the CCFA helps expose youth to the art of others as well as fostering their own personal creativity. The hall also provides much needed support to local musicians and artists. On top of all this, the CCFA remains a community center at heart, offering yoga and dance classes, art workshops, and the available space needed for other such community activities.