P.L.A.C.E. (Partnerships in Learning and Creative Exploration Inc.) was incorporated on October 31, 2000 and received its IRS tax exempt status in December of 2001 with the help from the Yale Law School clinic.
From 2002-2006, pilot art programs were developed, a board of directors was formed, mini grants were sought, mini festivals were produced and the search began for an appropriate space for our visionary Multicultural Children's Museum and Creative Arts Center.
In 2007, Debbie Chavoya, Founder becomes Executive Director of P.L.A.C.E.
In 2007, P.L.A.C.E. received a technical assistant grant from The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preserveation and a matching grant from the Town of Hamden for bid level drawings and specs designed by Turner Brooks Architects for P.L.A.C.E. Childrens Museum and Creative Arts Center. P.L.A.C.E. hosts their first Arts & Culture Festival at Town Center Park. This becomes an annual festival every first Saturday in October.
P.L.A.C.E. entered into a 25 year lease for $1/year on a historic Rectory Barn, located at Town Center Park to be renovated and reused as the museum and art center in 2008. As part of the lease agreement, structural improvements, elevator, walls and windows would be the Town of Hamden's responsibility. New construction, including stage, decking, a new entrance addition, museum exhibits, cosmetic build out would be the responsibility of P.L.A.C.E.
P.L.A.C.E. Art Studio (located directly across from the barn) opened it's doors in 2008 in order to begin art and film programming for kids, adults with disabilities and outreach programs for the underserved. After-school, summer, and community art programs were developed.
In 2009-2010 The Town of Hamden appropriated funds to begin structural renovations to the barn based on drawings by Turner Brooks Architects. P.L.A.C.E. received additional grants from First Niagara Foundation and fundraised for a structural engineer consultant to help with this phase of construction. The barn was repositioned, placed on a foundation, the basement was built out including an elevator shaft and the entrance addition foundation was completed. The first phase of construction was completed.
From 2011 to 2013, the economic downturn halted the renovation progress on the barn.
P.L.A.C.E. Art Studio continues to grow and build a substantial base of support for their art & film programs.
In 2011 P.L.A.C.E. received The Program Award from Connecticut Youth Services Association for their exceptional film program for teens.
In 2012 P.L.A.C.E. received the The Hamden Chamber Choice Award.
Late 2013, The International Association of New Haven awards P.L.A.C.E. a grant to purchase a vehicle to renovate and take their programming on the road to underserved communities.
In 2014, P.L.A.C.E. purchases a charming trolley bus, which is called P.L.A.C.E. on the Go!, and becomes their mobile art & film studio, as well as their museum on wheels. Additional grants are awarded by DECD, Connecticut Office of the Arts & The NewAlliance Foundation, to bring mobile art programming to eight public elementary schools in Hamden serving 420, 4th grade students.
In 2014, P.L.A.C.E. received a grant from the CT Trust for Historic Preservation and matching funds from The Town of Hamden to hire Bob Zoni, master roofer, to repair the slate roof on the barn. The Town of Hamden puts a fresh coat of paint on the barn. The next phase of construction begins.
In 2015, P.L.A.C.E. receives a $60,000 capital grant to fund the construction of the multicultural children's museum and art center entrance addition. Additional grants are awarded to P.L.A.C.E. on the Go! by DECD, Office of the Arts for a 12 week after school art program for K-12 aged refugee children newly arrived to the U.S. and working with Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven. P.L.A.C.E. on the Go! also received a program grant from The International Association of New Haven (IANH) for a 12 week Reel Life Video Workshop in partnership with the International Academy Digital Arts & Sciences at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven. The students produced, wrote,edited and directed several self expressive films, including a group project called "REFUGEE". The film stars a Reel Life Video student refugee who shares the process his family went through to be accepted to the U.S. and the gratitude he feels for the U.S. and IRIS for their support. P.L.A.C.E. received a grant from the DeLuca Foundation for P.L.A.C.E. on the Go! to participate in the International Festival of Arts & Ideas Pop Up Festivals and Cultural Exploration Day on the New Haven Green.
We have completed our work with IRIS and Wilbur Cross High School with a private screening of REFUGEE and a Q & A by the film students "Up on the Roof" of the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven. Additional screenings are planned for this year.
P.L.A.C.E. & P.L.A.C.E. on the Go! partnered with The Hamden Arts Commission to develop and create a community tile art project. P.L.A.C.E. on the Go! visited the students at Ridge Hill and Spring Glen Schools to design, paint their tiles that will be placed in the playground wall at Rochford Field and Villano Park in Hamden. This August, the tile wall will be unveiled at the Annual National Night Out Celebration.
October 1, 2016 marks the 10th Anniversary of our Arts & Culture Festival! Please consider joining us in this celebration of kids, culture & community.
Plans are underway for The Town of Hamden to install utilities at the museum site.
P.L.A.C.E. will continue to raise funds for the completion of the Multicultural Children's Museum and Creative Arts Center and for program support.