What’s New: Mudflat, Movin’ On Up

Mudflat, Movin’ On Up

In its 40th year, Somerville’s sculpting mecca finds a new home

By Meghann Ackerman

In early August, a group of staff, resident artists and volunteers helped move Mudflat Studio (81 Broadway) from its old home at 149 Broadway. Professional movers handled much of the bulky matter, but “a lot of our students offered to help,” says Mudflat Executive Director Lynn Gervens. “We’ve been [at 149 Broadway] for 26 years. When you’re dealing with clay it’s all heavy.” The large kilns, however, did not make the move. Gervens said moving and retrofitting the large ovens was very expensive, so Mudflat purchased new kilns.

Before Mudflat could move into the former Broadway Theatre, the building needed a $3.8 million renovation. Built in 1915, the theater simply wasn’t ready for a working clay studio. “It was a total gut job,” says Gervens. “The building was vacant for over 20 years or something like that.”

Along with putting in a new first floor, Mudflat also added a second floor to the building. The new space has more than double the square footage of 149 Broadway, giving artists and students more room to move around.

Better still, the move scarcely impeded the work, teaching and creative energy of the studio. All told, there was only a 10-day limbo: Mudflat relocated August 5 and classes resumed August 15.

While Mudflat will add some new programs, the plan isn’t to double the studio’s classes. The addition of a multi-purpose room gives the studio a space for presentations, workshops and community events.

Although Mudflat will maintain a gallery space in Porter Square, Gervens believes the extra room at 81 Broadway may allow for temporary exhibits.

The nonprofit studio had been working on funding its move for 10 years. Mudflat relied on savings, donations and a bank loan to cover the renovation of the new space. The former theater had two retail spaces at the front of the building. While the Somerville Police Department houses a substation in one, Mudflat will try to rent out the other.

Mudflat is inaugurating its new space with a Gala Benefit Auction on September 9. Seventy- five ceramics artists have already donated pieces to the event.

The next day, Mudflat will officially open to the public, with Mayor Joseph Curtatone cutting a ribbon at noon.

Afterwards, visitors will get to tour the studio and see the artists in action.

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One Response to “What’s New: Mudflat, Movin’ On Up”

  1. [...] You are viewing an article from Somerville Scout's September/October 2011 Magazine « What’s New: Mudflat, Movin’ On Up [...]

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