Bluecoats & EN-RICH-MENT Officially Open Arts Education Center

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Bluecoats Logo“What a joyful day!” said Betty Smith, founder & Executive Director of EN-RICH-MENT. “You have worked tirelessly and dedicated your time, energy, and resources to this project. Why? Because you believe in EN-RICH-MENT and have a passion for our youth and our community.”

Last Sunday the Bluecoats organization celebrated the grand opening of the newly-completed EN-RICH-MENT Arts Education Center. After a $2mm renovation and repurposing project, the new center is now the permanent home of the free after-school, weekend, and summer programming of Bluecoats’ affiliate EN-RICH-MENT.

Hundreds of supporters, donors, foundations, and contractors gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony, which concluded with a joint concert by the world-renowned Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps and the EN-RICH-MENT drumline.

EN-RICH-MENT Drumline and Bluecoats performers celebrate their joint performance.

EN-RICH-MENT Drumline students perform as the Bluecoats look on.

“Throughout this entire process I have been keenly aware of the incredible impact that this campaign will have on the young people of Canton,” said Mike Scott, CEO. “…but it wasn’t until I saw the EN-RICH-MENT kids and Bluecoats kids playing, laughing, and performing together that tears came. What an incredible ‘win’ for these kids, and for Canton’s future!”

Bluecoats Director Emeritus and project chair Ted Swaldo gives a tour of the facility’s art studio to campaign donors.

Along with remarks by Ms. Smith and Mr. Scott, those in attendance heard from Ted Swaldo, Director Emeritus of Bluecoats, campaign chair, and the general contractor of the project. Mr. Swaldo thanked the foundations, families, individual donors, and the many contractors and construction companies that further donated hundreds of thousands of dollars of in-kind support to the project.

While final campaign totals are still trickling in, the $1.75mm campaign goal has certainly been exceeded, and the final totals are expected to exceed $2.2mm.

The facility, which was formerly a Ziegler Tire service depot, now features three multi-purpose classrooms, four private practice and lesson studios, two music ensemble rooms, a state-of-the-art dance studio, art studio, and even a teaching kitchen. The EN-RICH-MENT staff moved into new office spaces in the building last month. The building was renovated by Bluecoats, which holds a long-term lease from ArtsinStark for the property.

The Arts Education Center sits on the campus of the Cultural Center for the Arts and amidst the brand new ArtsinStark Park. “From the outset of this project, ArtsinStark, Bluecoats and EN-RICH-MENT agreed that the best place for these young people remains on the Cultural Center Campus, and our arrangement with ArtsinStark includes programming access to the Cultural Center and park facilities.”

During the remarks, Mr. Scott, Mr. Swaldo, and Ms. Smith commented on future plans for the Bluecoats and EN-RICH-MENT affiliation which will focus on continuing to expand access to this life-changing programming and cultivating sustainability and longevity for the fourteen year old youth services non-profit.

Champion Award winners Jeff Doll (left) and Darren Elliott (right) pose with CEO Mike Scott (center).

Later in the evening, the Bluecoats organization honored two outstanding donors and contractors on the project with the organization’s annual Champion Award. Jeff Doll of Jeff’s Motorcars and Darren Elliott of RT Hampton were honored for their outsized in-kind contributions and personal leadership on the project in a ceremony downtown, during Bluecoats Party in the PlazaBluecoats Party in the Plaza.

Posted by on Friday, July 5th, 2024. Filed under Current News, DCI World, FrontPage Feature.