A Brief History

In the late 1990’s the North End of Middletown began to undergo a revitalization to remove the blighted properties and clean up the neighborhood. The North End Action Team was formed in 1997 to help community members organize and have a voice. In 1998 a committee of North End stakeholders was convened to discuss a vision for the future. The committee expressed the community’s desire for a central gathering place. Conversations were held with then Mayor of Middletown, Dominique Thornton and an arts center was suggested. A feasibility study in 2001 suggested that the North End community and Wesleyan University would support an arts center, and identified the property of 51 Green Street as a critical piece of real estate due to its central location.

Arts Cafe during renovations.

The City of Middletown committed to renting the location to Wesleyan, who then began a fundraising campaign for renovations and operations, which resulted in support on the federal, state, and local levels. Renovations to the building began on May 2, 2004.  Originally the Johnson Street School in the late 1800’s and later St. Sebastian’s School, the building was a perfect fit for an educational center.

While renovations were taking place, pilot programs were run through the Green Street Arts Program at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Main Street in Middletown. Classes included Music Alive!, children’s dance classes, and an after school program of about 20 students. In partnering with Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts, workshops with artists in residence were also held. Green Street Arts Center officially opened its doors at 51 Green Street on January 5, 2005.

Through the essential partnership of the North End Action Team, the City of Middletown and Wesleyan University, Green Street continues to offer programming for preschoolers to adults and we continue to reach out to the surrounding community. Many of our participants have been with us since our programming at Holy Trinity Church. We will highlight their stories in upcoming articles.

Welcome to the Green Street Blog!

Green Street Exterior ShotHello and welcome to the Green Street Blog!

An emerald sitting prominently in Middletown’s historic North End, Green Street Arts Center of Wesleyan University is a gathering place for people from all walks and stages of life to join together and explore the arts. Through this blog we hope to introduce you to Green Street, inside and out. We will highlight our programs, students, Membership partners, classes and events and more!

Green Street is a three-story arts and education center currently celebrating its fifth anniversary. Here you can find an eclectic mix of events, exhibitions, classes and workshops offered to local individuals and families, as well as people from more than 25 surrounding towns. Green Street’s state-of-the-art facility includes a sound recording studio, black-box theater, computer and media labs, and dance and art studios. Since opening in 2005, more than 20,000 people statewide have participated in programs from the visual, performing and media arts to early childhood development. Through evening and weekend programming and special events, audiences sample a wide array of performances, lectures, and workshops from professional artists, Wesleyan faculty, and visiting and local artists.

With its mission of enriching lives through the arts, Green Street enables people from diverse backgrounds to converge in one special place.  Ours is a place that celebrates diversity, while encouraging us to learn more about our community.  The high-quality After School Arts & Science Program remains at the core of Green Street’s offering, providing youth with arts education, homework assistance, mentoring, and nutritious snacks, all in the context of a safe and creative environment.

Green Street Arts Center’s greatest asset and most unique quality are its origins. Evolving from a collaborative spirit of Wesleyan University, the City of Middletown, the North End Action Team and other stakeholders who recognize the potential in their community, Green Street was destined to become a beacon of change. Since its inception, Green Street has always been viewed as an extension of Wesleyan University. Green Street was fully embraced under the umbrella of the Center for Community Partnerships at Wesleyan in the Fall of 2008.

Green Street is open Monday through Friday from 9am-6pm for regular business hours and is often open later for events and classes. We hope that you will stop by soon for a tour, to get more information, or to participate in an event.

See you soon!