Last week, Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Legis. Dominick Thorne, presiding officer Kevin McCaffrey, and Legis. Jim Mazzarella were on hand to award funding from the JumpSMART …
Last week, Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Legis. Dominick Thorne, presiding officer Kevin McCaffrey, and Legis. Jim Mazzarella were on hand to award funding from the JumpSMART Small Business Downtown Investment Program to the Patchogue Arts, GiGi’s Playhouse Long Island, and The Gateway.
According to Thorne, the program is meant to provide funding for local businesses and institutions for projects and programs that bolster local arts/cultural organizations, increase tourism, and strengthen workforce development efforts.
In the Seventh Legislative District, the legislature secured funding for multiple organizations as follows:
The Gateway, Performing Arts of Suffolk County: $1.45 million
Gigi’s Playhouse Long Island: $1 million
Patchogue Arts Council: $800,000
“Thank you to the federal, state, and local officials who helped this program come to fruition,” he said.
The Patchogue Arts Council
According to PAC executive director Beth Giacummo, the $800,000 they were awarded will go towards construction costs at their new location at the building donated through the East Patchogue Greybarn development project.
Last year, Brookhaven Town approved site-plan applications for the Greybarn site at the former Mediterranean Manor, located at 303 East Main Street in East Patchogue, for the redevelopment of 3.42 acres of land.
The project site is located within the East Patchogue Incentive Overlay District and also includes the community benefit parcel located directly south of the proposed site, across East Main Street.
At that time, Giacummo, confirmed the plans, stating that the arts council is excited and thankful for the new space. She said it will allow them to serve artists of all disciplines. She also hopes to utilize the existing buildings to begin using the spaces as soon as possible.
“We envision so many ways these spaces can serve, including mixed-use performance space, a literary room for readings and talks, expanded exhibition space for MoCA L.I., offices, and room for the museum’s collection,” she said. “I would love to see the collection we build be available to the public for viewing, much like the Brooklyn Museum.”
The seed funding, according to president of GiGi’s Playhouse Mike Cirigliano, will help them continue to grow in supporting the LI communities by offering 100 percent free educational, therapeutic-based, and career development programs.
Their focus, he said, will be on expansion efforts to provide classroom space for their career development/education programming, which will include the GiGi U program and the launch of a Hugs n Mugs Cafe and Store, where they will be able to provide job opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
“GiGi’s Playhouse Long Island is honored to be a $1 million recipient of the Suffolk County JumpSMART program,” he said.
The Gateway, Performing Arts Center of Suffolk County, received a total of $1.45 million with plans to use the money to build a new 5,000-square-foot building, which will wrap around and incorporate the existing front entrance and lobby.
According to The Gateway representatives, “the visual change will be dramatic since the current look of the historic structure is ‘country farm’ and not representational of the quality that lies within.”
The planned new design will present a modern professional facade while honoring the historic elements of the existing buildings. The expanded space will also serve as a community meeting place, additional areas for Gateway School for the Performing Arts, and as a forum for additional music programming.
“Our goal is to revitalize the historic structure into a modern facility that will invigorate the local business on Main Street, who will benefit greatly from the increased tourism to the Village of Bellport,” said Paul Allan, executive artistic director. “The current façade does not reflect the high-quality theatrical programming presented on our stage all year-long.”
Once architect plans, engineers, and contractors are finalized, a project timeline will be announced. The project estimate is currently projected to cost $2 to $2.5 million, requiring an “aggressive” capital fundraising campaign, which is currently in the works. Additionally, a substantial donation has already been made by a generous anonymous donor, but individual gifts of all sizes will be needed to achieve the goals.