FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2018
Contact: Stephanie Scherpf
A Win for Boston Arts: Urbanity Dance Takes Ownership of ArtBlock Gallery at 725 Harrison
Urbanity Dance, a Boston-based nonprofit dance organization, recently took ownership of the Gallery unit at ArtBlock, 725 Harrison Avenue, in Boston's South End. The purchase is the result of a creative three-way exchange between Urbanity Dance, ArtBlock developer Peter Roth, and the City of Boston. There will be a Community Open House held on June 6th 5-7pm at 725 Harrison.
The ArtBlock location marks the third location for Urbanity Dance in the South End. The other two locations, at 1180 Washington and 111 W. Concord, are both leased. "Our mission at Urbanity is to serve our community, and the number one thing that seemed to be impeding our mission was enough space," says Graves. “I am thrilled that the additional space will allow us to offer more classes to more students, and better fulfill our mission. I look forward to working with our neighbors, and strengthening our community programs to build strong streets of character."
Director Betsi Graves founded Urbanity Dance with a vision to offer high-quality contemporary modern, jazz, and hip-hop programs, and a goal to activate and bring the neighborhood together through dance. Today, Urbanity serves 800 students at its two studios. As the largest independent presences of dance in Boston Public Schools, the organization reaches 500 youth weekly through its Urban & World Dance Program. Urbanity’s Movement Mends program includes biweekly Dance with Parkinson’s classes, and dance programming for the most marginalized, including incarcerated youth and homeless women.
When Graves started looking for additional space, she looked to the Urbanity community as a resource. “Our community was aware that we needed more space--our seven administrators did not have a place to work, and dozens of people are on our waiting lists for our Youth and Adult Programs,” says Graves. “A parent at Urbanity knew we were looking, introduced us to Peter Roth, and what ensued is no less than a miracle.”
Peter Roth, developer and resident of the ArtBlock community, made a generous donation and facilitated a transaction with the City of Boston to make Urbanity’s dream come true. Roth notes, "I have strived over the years to find ways to bring more arts-related activity to our corner of the SOWA district. I was thrilled to discover the opportunity to support Urbanity Dance, effectively recommitting our wonderful space to a community arts mission for the foreseeable future. My family and I are very excited to see the Roth Family Gallery for Community Dance develop as a meaningful new resource for the arts in the South End.”
The City of Boston’s Chief of Arts and Culture, Julie Burros, says that this is a win for the Boston arts sector. “Lack of space has been a vexing issue and something I hear time and time again as a top priority for nonprofit arts organizations in Boston. This successful three-way partnership between Peter Roth, the City of Boston, and Urbanity Dance is a shining example of what could be possible for other arts organizations.”
The space will allow Urbanity to further fulfill its mission of engaging, inspiring, and empowering the community through dance and movement. With active partnerships with United South End Settlements, South End Community Health Center and Women's Lunch Place, Urbanity is committed to collaborating with nonprofits to bring dance programs to community centers. Graves states, “Dance needs to be at the heart of social change. It has tremendous power to heal individuals and communities, and to bring people together. The acquisition of this space is a game changer for Urbanity. This gift helps secure our future and is an important investment in our community.”
Urbanity Dance was founded in 2008 by Betsi Graves with a focus on propelling contemporary dance to the forefront of Boston's cultural landscape. Under Graves’ leadership and in tandem with its incorporation in 2011, Urbanity Dance has been recognized as Boston’s largest contemporary dance company. Urbanity is comprised of three programmatic pillars: Company, School, and Community.
Urbanity’s critically acclaimed company of professional dancers creates intimate and unconventional performances for diverse audiences. In collaboration with nationally renowned guest artists, venues and partner organizations, Urbanity presents an annual season of Company performances.
The Company was voted Boston’s Best by Improper Bostonian in 2013, announced Best of Boston by Boston Magazine in 2015, and is repeatedly named a Top Ten Critics’ Pick by The Boston Globe. Urbanity has presented at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, The Institute of Contemporary Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and venues across New England, New York, Virginia, Texas and Florida. Each summer, the Company also produces the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival.
For press ready photos or interviews, please contact Artistic Operations Manager Cayley Christoforou, firstname.lastname@example.org
Urbanity Dancer Dorothy Cherry leaps into Urbanity’s new home at 725 Harrison (Photographer: Eli Akerstein)