Life on Broadway
The Norwich Arts Center was formed originally as the Norwich Arts Council in 1987 by a group of local artists and art-lovers who were inspired by the region’s cultural possibilities. Since its inception, the dedicated board members, artists, and volunteers of NAC have worked to provide affordable arts programming that is both a reflection of the area’s rich diversity and a platform for deeper arts appreciation.
To accomplish these feats, NAC sought a base of operations. That was found in one of Norwich’s historic architectural gems on 60-64 Broadway, the former St. Mary’s Total Abstinence and Benevolence Building, originally constructed in 1892. NAC leased and renovated the ground floor of 60 Broadway and converted the space into the NAC Gallery, which has had on exhibit not only the work of NAC’s co-op artists but other regional artists as well. The building was bought outright in 1995 and more renovations followed, including that of the gorgeous, intimate space of the Donald L. Oat Theater on the third floor. The theater has been a versatile venue for stage productions, live music performances, dance events, workshops, receptions, children’s classes…name a function, and our theater has probably served it, or will soon. The most recent addition to NAC is the former Kokopelli Coffeehouse space on 64 Broadway, now used as additional gallery space rented out to local artists, NAC Gallery II. Though our programming is not limited to our building, our home on Broadway has served as a meeting place for creative minds, exceptional talent, and passionate defenders of the arts.
NAC’s footprint in the Chelsea Arts District continues to play a key role in the revitalization of downtown Norwich. A vital part of the downtown First Friday scene, with a monthly gallery opening reception and a season of live concerts reflecting diverse music genres, NAC proves to be a boon to Norwich as one of the city’s unique cultural attractions.
NAC Board of Directors
Karen Staples, President
Kristen P. Nickerson, Vice President
Thomas E. Keaney, Treasurer
Matt Greene Marshall, Secretary
Mary Kay Kelleher
Susan Scott Kenney, NAC Artists' Co-op President
Peter Leibert Emeritus
Roberta J. Vincent
Advisors to the Board
Gerald Lachance, Financial
Michael Jewell, Legal