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The mission of Grand Street Community Arts is to renovate and revitalize St. Anthony’s Church as a hub for community, arts and culture.
Grand Street Community Arts was formed by concerned neighbors in the Mansion Neighborhood in 2003 as a way to bridge the cultural and economic divides within their neighborhood. The organization negotiated the purchase of the former St. Anthony’s Church, a long-vacant cornerstone of the community and a link with its immigrant past.
Constructed in 1907, St. Anthony’s Church not only filled the spiritual needs of parishioners, but also helped immigrants adjust to new lives in America by offering English classes and hosting performances, weddings and operas. Thus, St. Anthony’s has always been a center for the arts! In 1972, following the construction of the Empire State Plaza and the demolition of many homes in the South End, St. Anthony’s had lost its congregation and closed its doors. In 2003, Grand Street Community Arts purchased St. Anthony’s from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, reopening its doors as a community center.
Since 2004, Grand Street Community Arts has offered a variety of creative programs, mostly focused on youth and access to public space. Our most successful program is YouthFX, a summer film-making academy launched in 2006. In 2016, YouthFX will become its own independent organization, offering year round programming.
Since 2013, Grand Street Community Arts has been working urgently to save our building - St. Anthony's - and to raise funds for our FM antenna - the first new program to move into a renovated St. Anthony's church.
- Alexis Bhagat
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