The Dorchester Community Center for the Visual Arts is eyeing a new direction and a change in leadership. The local arts education program, also known as Dot Art, largely suspended operations and the longtime executive director stepped down earlier this fall. Only certain long-term projects have been kept going by volunteers.
A dozen supporters of the program met in Codman Square on Wednesday night to discuss the future of the program, which provides free or low-cost classes to children, teens and adults. Dot Art, started by sixteen residents in January 1998, provides classes and programs to around 1,200 participants a year, and collaborates with museums, schools and health care providers, according to the program’s website.
“I would say Dot Art is at a crossroads,” said Victoria Goldberg, chair of the board of Dot Art.
The meeting, the second in a series of meetings to brainstorm next steps for the organization, comes during a tough financial climate for the organization and at a time when the grants it so often relies on have been drying up. In recent years, Dot Art has had a $150,000 annual operating budget.
“We’re saying we’re on hiatus as we go through this process,” Goldberg said.
“We want to be a self-sustaining organization,” she added.
The board has already made some moves, suspending Dot Art’s staff in September. Leslie MacWeeney, one of the founders of the program, is no longer executive director and is serving on a volunteer basis. MacWeeney, who didn’t attend the meeting, declined to comment.
MacWeeney is the “heart and soul” of Dot Art, Goldberg said. “We hope going forward she’s a part of it,” she said.
After the meeting, held in Codman Square’s Great Hall, Goldberg said the organization is attempting to decide whether they will have an all-volunteer staff or a hybrid of volunteer and paid staff. They are also weighing whether to have a facility.
“We’re looking at everything right now,” Goldberg said.
The next meeting on Dot Art’s future is scheduled for Jan. 8 at 10 a.m. at All Saints Church in the Ashmont neighborhood.