Access to recreation for young people, to holiday celebrations and to veterans memorials; access to the building’s “joyous purpose” where the performing arts are practiced, performed and celebrated as a tangible component of the Town’s vibrant culture. At 51 Walden, all people – regardless of physical abilities – enjoy access to each other in a community where imagination and innovation abound, and all are committed to sustaining a heritage that nourishes the human spirit.
In 2018 we are expanding our commitment to access. We know that art in all its forms is indispensable to the human experience, and we are determined to ensure that the performing arts at 51 Walden remain accessible to all people for future generations. The Board of 51 Walden has been stalwart in its service, dutifully adapting to changing needs of the community for more than 100 years. We are ready to take up the work of injecting new life into its aged bones and of refreshing and updating its ability to serve the changing needs of a modern community.
We must comply with regulations of The Massachusetts Architectural Access Board to improve access. 51 Walden and its three resident groups have united to undertake a capital campaign. By working together for Access 51, we will be able to update our accessible ramp to help visitors safely navigate entry, especially in poor weather conditions; enlarge the landing pad at the base of the ramp to allow adequate space for wheelchair turning; replace the railings to provide stability and extra support; and re-adapt the doorway to allow for a larger opening and greater access. Download Access 51 Case Statement.
In addition, we will purchase a portable stage lift that will provide access for patrons and performers from the audience floor level to both the drama and music stages. We will enlarge the gender neutral accessible bathroom on the first floor level to include proper turning radius and access to the sink for wheelchair or walker users as well as grab bars. We will add a bi-level drinking fountain that allows access to water for wheelchair users and people with limited back mobility. We will also connect the building’s remaining 100-year-old, outdated plumbing to the building’s more modern system, bringing parts of the building into the 21st century. We will also establish a reserve fund, so that we can address other repairs which must be anticipated in an 130-year-old building.
The cost for these improvements is $500,000. It’s a hefty sum indeed, but worth it to preserve this cherished resource. As Joyce Kulhawik, our honorary chairman says, I’ve narrated and hosted many entertaining, enlightening, and celebratory events at 51 Walden, a real gem in desperate need of some polishing! This is a charming facility in need of a modern makeover so we can keep the performing arts alive and thriving in the most beautiful historic town in all of New England and its surrounding communities.
We intend to build on our strong track record of raising funds for essential improvements needed in the past. For this campaign we’ve already received pledges and grants of more than $485,000, which includes an award of $100,000 in CPA funds and a recent grant of $40,000 from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund. We have 100% participation among the 51 Walden Board and the boards of our three resident performing arts groups.
We are counting on contributions from our loyal members and subscribers as well. Please consider how valuable 51 Walden is to the community, and make a generous donation. Checks should be made payable to 51 Walden, Inc. with Access 51 on the memo line and mailed to P.O. Box 251, Concord, MA 01742. You may also contribute on-line here. Thank you!