On the first Sunday of each October, Mainstage Center for the Arts (MCA) transforms downtown Blackwood into a destination spot for thousands of visitors with the annual Blackwood Pumpkin Festival. This fall, Mainstage will make that area its permanent home, with a new headquarters at Academy Hall, 27 South Black Horse Pike. Academy Hall is located between the Blackwood Rotary Library and Chews Florist.
Mainstage will offer classes in acting, voice, musical instruments, photography, songwriting, and more in this location. In addition to classrooms and offices, Academy Hall will feature an art gallery. Mainstage plans to put the gallery to good use by hosting local artists’ exhibits.
“Most recently, our classes and offices have been located at Camden County College. However, the college is expanding and needed the space. We explained this dilemma to local businesses and government leaders. As a result, Gloucester Township officials offered us this wonderful opportunity at Academy Hall,” said Ed Fiscella, MCA Producing Artistic Director. “It’s truly a great location with high visibility that will enable us to schedule classes and workshops to match our teachers and students schedules. It also gives us the opportunity to add workshops in areas such as fine arts and jewelry making, which we’ll be looking into in the future.”
The historic township-owned building first operated as a girl’s school, the Academy and Female Collegiate Institute, in the 1850’s. Under Mainstage’s management, it will once again become a center for learning. The township is working on a restoration of the facility, which will enable it to host most of Mainstage’s classes.
“Mainstage adds so much to the fiber of Gloucester Township with its performing arts programs for youth and adults. It’s fitting that they have a presence right in the center of town along the Black Horse Pike,” said Gloucester Township Mayor, David Mayer. “They are an integral part of revitalizing downtown Blackwood.”
These revitalization efforts have already begun with the Blackwood Farmer’s Market held Saturday mornings in the summer, the Blackwood Pumpkin Festival, Holiday Parade, and new business in the area.
“The goal is that our classes, workshops, exhibits and events draw more people and business into this area of town so that it becomes a thriving district. I believe it has great potential, which I witness each year in the crowds that gather here for the Pumpkin Festival. Everyone at Mainstage is excited about the opportunity for year-round growth,” said Joe Bretschneider, MCA Executive Director.
For more information about Mainstage Center for the Arts, please visit www.mainstage.org or call (856) 227-3091.
Mainstage Center for the Arts, the parent program for Summer Stage, is a 501 © (3) non-profit organization committed to providing a creative, vibrant, and nurturing environment for youth and adults.
This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. This program is also made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey Cultural Trust.
Mainstage Center for the Arts, located at Camden County College in Blackwood, NJ is committed to making the arts experience enjoyable for all its patrons. In an effort to make the shows, concerts, events, workshops, classes, and offices accessible to as many as possible, Mainstage offers many services for patrons requiring assistance. For anyone in need of assistance, please notify the office at (856) 227-3091 at the time of purchasing tickets, or at least five days prior to the event you are attending.