October 22, 2013
BALI LLC announced today that its building located at 276 Westminster Street has been sold to 276 Westminster St. LLC, a Providence-based real estate development firm. The Roots Cultural Center was opened in March of 2011 and has been a place for people to enjoy each other and each other’s cultures, and to celebrate the arts.
Over the past 2+-years, Roots created an environment that was unique to downtown Providence, fueled by the diversity and rich cultural representation in its programming. “Not only did we employ hundreds of artists who were supported by our programs, but we also presented artists who might never have been seen otherwise – from places such as Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, India and South Africa,” said Len Cabral, President of Providence Inner City Arts, (PICA). The diversity was also exemplified in unusual events – tap dancers, film festivals, and a forum for serious, open, topical discussions about race, gay marriage, and sexual discrimination. Roots also offered space to non-profits for meetings and fundraisers and as a rental facility the public was provided with an affordable space for celebrations, weddings and parties.
Roots, which was operated under the auspices of PICA, a 501 (C) 3 not-for-profit organization, is in favor of the space remaining an arts and community center and a fixture in downtown Providence. The new owners plan to grow and develop the venue’s traditions, providing a space for the greater Providence community to gather, share, and engage in the city’s future, through the arts and education.
Len Cabral, said, “We’ve had a great run and we’re tremendously proud of the programs and activity we generated.” He added, “Over time, however, we saw that our energy and resources were going towards the facility rather than towards programming, which was our primary mission. We made the decision to look for a solution and when the opportunity presented itself with 276 Westminster St. LLC, we decided to take it. The timing was perfect and we hope to collaborate with the new owners in the future.”
The Roots mission will continue to be fulfilled as PICA tries to find ways to locate funding to support the Roots Caravan, a mobile program that will take arts and artists into different communities throughout the city. Instead of spending its limited funds on maintaining brick and mortar, PICA can be more flexible.
Roots’ most popular Strictly Jazz Jam, each Tuesday, and Who ‘Dat Jazz and Blues Jam, on Sundays, will hopefully continue through funding from the Providence Tourism Council and the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts. Both programs give aspiring musicians as well as seasoned musicians opportunities to perform with a broad range of professional artists. Cabral said, “It has been great having parents bring their kids to get up on stage with the ever changing house band. Jazz artists from all around the region – Boston, Connecticut, New Hampshire and New York – have traveled to perform at the Roots and we hope to keep them coming.’