Our Story

Founded in 1993 and incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in 1995, Cotuit Center for the Arts has grown into an award-winning and dynamic arts and cultural hub serving Cape Cod, Southeastern Massachusetts, and beyond. We host more than 35,000 visitors yearly for free and paid programming in our gallery, main theater, black box theater, and classrooms, and we serve local populations of disabled teens and adults and incarcerated youth through our outreach programs. Our offerings include art exhibits, live theater, concerts, classes and workshops, film screenings, and special events. We collaborate with local artists, musicians, actors, performers, teachers, volunteers, and the occasional celebrity to provide a rich experience to our audiences and attendees all year long. 

Our calendar is jam-packed — an average week at the Center juggles an average of 120 hours of programming across ten schedulable locations on campus. From rehearsals to meetings to classes to performances, we are always buzzing with activity. Our roster for 2017 features 8 Mainstage theater productions, 11 Black Box shows, 40 or so class offerings, 12 Gallery installations, and 41 special events from concerts to student collaborations, annual festivals to talent showcases, craft fairs to magic shows. Our ticket sales cover only half of our financial needs — we are supported by the contributions of our generous donors, sustained by a dedicated force of 400 active volunteers, grounded by the vision of a 16-member Board of Directors, and driven by the dedication and passion of 6 full-time and 9 part-time employees. We strive to be a welcoming hub at every level.

“Cotuit Center for the Arts… from an artist or audience perspective, who could ask for anything more?” -The Barnstable Patriot

 

A brief timeline of the development of our campus: 

  • Cotuit Center for the Arts was founded in 1993 in a 1200 square foot former mechanic’s garage located behind the Cotuit Village Coop, offering art classes and exhibition space.
  • In 1996, the first theatrical productions were staged. Offerings included Hamlet, Macbeth, Fool for Love, The Gift of the Gorgon, and Terra Nova.
  • In April 2000, the garage burned to the ground.
  • In the fall of 2000, the current site on Route 28 was secured to rebuild. The two acre site included the 1800 square foot "Botello" house and a 1200 square foot garage.
  • From December 2000 through May 2004, art and theater classes were taught in the “Botello” house and garage. Art exhibitions and minor theatrical productions were staged in the house, garage, and at Cotuit’s Freedom Hall.
  • In June 2002, a ground-breaking ceremony was held, initiating the construction of a new performance and exhibition facility.
  • Also in 2002, the adjoining one acre “Savinelli” property was procured. This included the 1200 square foot “Savinelli” administration building.
  • In May 2004, our main building, the 9,000 square foot performance and exhibition space opened, housing the Mainstage and Gallery.
  • In 2005-2006, the garage was renovated to better serve the growing enrollment of Cotuit Center for the Arts’ educational programs and renamed the Art Studio. 
  • In 2010, "Botello" House was converted into our Black Box Theater, with a premiere production of Ibsen's Ghosts
  • In 2015, two adjacent residential properties were acquired, with the long-term plan to expand the Center's educational and administrative space. 
  • In 2016, the Black Box was renovated to increase seating capacity, upgrade the tech booth, improve handicapped access, and create a large upstairs classroom/rehearsal room.  
  • In 2017, we plan to renovate and upgrade one of the new residential properties and convert it into the Schoolhouse, housing two classrooms and extensive outdoor space.