Corrections or additions?
This column was prepared for the February 4, 2004 issue of U.S. 1
Between the Lines
I very much enjoyed Richard Rein’s column (January 21) about the Arts
Council’s futile attempts to expand its facility and the question of
whether the project is "jinxed." Certainly, it would be easy to
imagine that it is, considering the number of expansion projects in
downtown Princeton (the Library, Palmer Square, the University itself)
that have breezed along while the Arts Council’s relatively modest
project has gone nowhere and remains mired in controversy.
One reason for the failure has gone largely unnoticed or, at least,
unspoken: the true inflexibility of the building itself. Here is an
edifice that is architecturally undistinguished on the outside, and
scruffy on the inside. Its rooms seem designed to be as small and
unusable as possible (try producing even a one-set play in the
upstairs "theater"), and many of the Council’s undertakings have long
since outgrown the facility.
The Arts Council building stands on a piece of land so small that the
building can hardly be expanded enough to accommodate all the
Council’s activities. One has to wonder why the Council is so
committed to holding on to this building, for it is obvious that the
answer to the Council’s problem is either to construct an entirely new
building or, if that is prohibitively expensive, to move to a building
nearby which can accommodate its programs. Fortunately, such a
building already exists: the Valley Road School.
That building, just up Witherspoon Street in Princeton Township, was
first a public school and then the temporary seat of the Township
government. It is now essentially vacant. For a Council that offers
classes. Valley Road has classrooms. For a Council that would like to
put on shows, it has the Township’s former meeting room, with far more
potential as a theatrical space than the Council’s present theater.
And there is ample free parking.
If the trustees of the Arts Council and its supporters are willing to
spend so much time, effort, and money on refurbishing an unusable
building at one end of Witherspoon Street, they can surely make better
use of those assets by refurbishing a newer and more usable building
at the other end – and the Arts Council’s present neighbors will
applaud such an appropriate and public-spirited gesture.
Marvin Harold Cheiten
Thank you for Richard Skelly’s enthusiastic and inspiring article on
Drum Circles (January 1). Some 20 people came out for our last circle
with Elena Fernandez. Drumming circles embody what we are about at the
Princeton Center for Yoga & Health. In a relaxed, smoke and
alcohol-free environment, people of all ages and abilities can come
out, try something new, meet new people, and have a good time.
The next drumming circle is Friday, February 20, at 8 p.m. No
Center for Yoga & Health www.princetonyoga.com
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.