For 50 years, The Carrboro ArtsCenter has served as the original makerspace for Orange County.

We have grown from a single classroom to a dynamic multi-disciplinary educational arts center serving students of all ages through innovative performances, dynamic and robust classes, and gallery spaces curated with art from North Carolina’s premier artists.

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Inspiration leads to transformation

  • 1975

    The ArtsCenter files Articles of Incorporation, and in November of 1976 receives its IRS determination letter certifying it as a tax-exempt organization.

  • 1979

    The ArtSchool moves from its loft space on Main Street to upstairs at the Carr Mill Mall. Over 500 hundred adults and children are enrolled in the Fall classes.

  • 1984

    The name of the school is changed to Center for Visual and Performing Arts (ArtSchool at Carrboro).

  • 1987

    July 1st, the organization moves into its new renovated space at 300 E. Main Street. The name is officially changed to The ArtsCenter.

  • 2017

    The ArtsCenter contracts with Gail Perry and Associates to conduct a campaign feasibility and planning study. The study, completed in February 2018, identified challenges and opportunities for The ArtsCenter to achieve a successful campaign to fund a new building. A plan was developed to address the challenges and position The ArtsCenter for fundraising success.

  • 2018

    The ArtsCenter’s Board approves moving ahead with the building project and hires Madrock Advisors to provide expert guidance on site selection, choice of architect and engineer as well as contractor selection. The ArtsCenter sells its building at 300-G East Main Street and pays off its outstanding mortgage.

  • 2019

    The quiet phase of the capital campaign for a new home for The ArtsCenter begins. The first of several community input meetings to solicit feedback from stakeholders and community members is held and The ArtsCenter receives a record-breaking $1.6 million gift from The Nicholson Foundation towards the construction of the new facility.

  • 2022

    The ArtsCenter purchases the building at 400 Roberson Street to renovate as its new home. In July, Jenny Shultz-Thomas is hired as the new executive director and the public facing campaign begins. In September, the official ground-breaking marks the start of renovations.

  • Spring 2023

    The new ArtsCenter is slated to open.

Whether in dance, the beating of a drum, spinning wheel, or spoken word, fundamental transformation occurs when art is lifted off the page, the curtain rises, and the audience gasps. Through innovation and expression, the arts inspire individuals who together transform communities.

The time has come for The ArtsCenter to relocate to a newly-remodeled, state-of-the-art facility at 400 Roberson Street ushering in the next 50 years.

The new ArtsCenter will be a landmark of creative expression nestled within walking distance of downtown shops, restaurants, the new Orange County library and more. With plenty of parking, we’ll be able to even better serve the visitors from all 100 NC counties and beyond, allowing tourists and locals alike to “make a day of it” when visiting The ArtsCenter and exploring all that Carrboro has to offer. Proximity to The Libba Cotten Trail, bike paths and pocket parks will provide a natural backdrop and a creative muse.

Sustainably Yours

By thoughtfully repurposing an existing building we are practicing sustainable development, which is itself a creative expression.

The renovated structure will include green design features, purpose-built and adaptable spaces suited for modern technologies and windows (!), something crucial to creativity that has been lacking in our current space.

Made for Makers

Our new home will allow artists trained in traditional art forms to incorporate cutting edge technologies into their art form.

We will provide experiences that reflect the growing, diverse and dynamic population we serve. We will foster our youth’s creative imaginations and expressions in our dynamic youth education center and STEAM Labs as well as through outreach programs across the state.

In our unique black-box performance space, our audiences will discover shows and acts which highlight the diverse gifts of local NC performers in an intimate setting.

The new ArtsCenter will house three makerspaces where local residents of all ages and backgrounds will have the opportunity to learn new skills and expand their artistic capacity.

Community members will have the opportunity to forge new relationships with other artists, foster mentorships and develop cross-cultural understandings.

The Youth Education Center will occupy a large portion of the building and will include the STEAM Lab where students of all ages will have access to cutting edge technologies, materials, mentors and inspiration.

The Technology Center will allow artists to enhance their craft with next-generation audio and video technologies including green screens, video projectors and large monitors.

The Fiber Arts Lab is where fiber artists will have access to equipment which would otherwise be cost-prohibitive. Artisans will be able to enrich their craft through the use of industrial sewing machines, laser cutters, sewing tables and digital fabric printers.

The ceramic studio will be three times the size of our current space.

The painting studio will have natural light streaming throughout the space!

Two gallery spaces will exhibit art reflecting our community’s diversity.

2021 by the numbers

Enrolled 1241 children in over 150 arts camps. Offered 105 ArtSchool classes. Brought Artists In Residency programming to 1275 students in 4 Orange County elementary schools. Last year served students and audiences from more than 220 zip codes across 8 states and beyond, reaching as far as Japan! Awarded $15,129 in student scholarships for Arts classes, AfterSchool and ArtsCamp. In total, The ArtsCenter provided a total of 37,000 art experiences to our community!

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This project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The arts are back in North Carolina. The Spark the Arts grant promotes audience inclusion and reengagement in the arts.