Old School Square Center For The Arts Announces New Delray Beach Programming
It’s been quite a rollercoaster ride for Old School Square Center For The Arts, their patrons, donors, staff and board ever since being blindsided last August by Commissioners Juli Casale, Shirley Johnson and Mayor Shelly Petrolia who voted to terminate the organizations lease by sneaking in a non-agenda item which denied the community their chance to weigh in on the fate of their largest and most economically impactful cultural arts and education hub, and denied the organization their due process.
Over the past 10 months the city has struggled with what to do with the campus which consists of the Concert Pavilion, Cornell Museum, the Field House, and the Crest Theater. After the Invitation To Negotiate (ITN) last fall failed to garner even one proposal, the campus has remained mostly dark, save for a few concerts and movies put on by Delray Beach Parks & Rec. Additionally, an attempt by the city to bring in the Boca Raton Museum to run Cornell Theater as a standalone also fell flat as the commission voting 3-2 to not proceed with Boca Museums offer brokered by City Manager Terrance Moore.
While the commission deals with the aftermath of their actions, including lawsuits and a staggering bill to the city (aka the taxpayers) to complete renovations of the Crest Theater (Estimated to be more than $1,000,000) along with the cost of general upkeep for the campus, the void in the Delray Beach arts and entertainment scene along with the economic impact of lost cultural tourism dollars has been palpable.
Not to be deterred by the loss of their physical space and ongoing litigation with the city, OSS has announced they are back and are ready to build on 32 years of unparalleled success with new initiatives and new programming as a continuation of their vision of “Offering a broad range of programs and services that will inspire every segment of the community to participate”.
According to OSS Chairwoman Patty Jones, there are a lot of exciting things in the planning stage including a new educational initiative launching in August and a very exciting program scheduled for October.
The 1st annual “Frances Bourque Arts in Education Grant” named after Old School Square founder Frances Bourque launches this August. OSS will present representatives of Delray’s 8 schools with grants of $500.00 each for the purpose of arts programming and/or arts supplies for students.
Janet Meeks, Education Coordinator for the city of Delray Beach welcomes this new arts in education initiative. “Arts in education significantly boosts academic achievement and improves math and language skills. It is wonderful that the schools will receive these grants to enhance their arts programs.”
In addition to the new arts in education grants, OSS has been chosen to present and host this years “LUNAFEST”, scheduled for Tuesday, October 18th @ 6:00pm.
LUNAFEST has for the past 21 years, held this event that celebrates a powerful and diverse set of women filmmakers and given their short films a national platform.
OSS Chairwoman Patty Jones on LUNAFEST, “It’s important for Old School Square to continue with it’s mission, even with displacement of our non-profit from the OSS Campus. LUNAFEST is one of my favorite events, and the board is very excited to bring this national film festival to Delray Beach.”
“Additionally, if anyone wants more information on ticketing or sponsorship opportunities, they can go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lunafest-tickets-347570110557 says Jones”.
Community support for OSS has been only increasing since the cities vote to terminate their lease. Delray Beach resident Tonya Schultz says “While it was very unfair what happened to the great folks at OSS, I am beyond excited they are not giving up on Delray Beach. I am looking forward to attending LUNAFEST. I went with my partner back in 2019 and it was such a profound, moving experience.”