SEABA Gets a More Visible Home | Arts News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
Pin It

SEABA Gets a More Visible Home 

State of the Arts

The future home of the SEABA office, now home to Pine Street Art Works - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • The future home of the SEABA office, now home to Pine Street Art Works

Most Burlington residents have heard of the South End Arts and Business Association: SEABA organizes the annual South End Art Hop and spends the rest of the year promoting the Pine Street corridor’s growing throng of artists and small, creative businesses. Few members of the public, though, venture to the organization’s headquarters, which executive director Roy Feldman describes as “tucked away” behind Switchback Brewery off Flynn Avenue, in the Vermont Hardware Company complex.

That will change in early October when SEABA moves to the Howard Space — the group of buildings on Pine between Marble and Howard streets. The new location, bookended by Fresh Market and Speeder & Earl’s Coffee, will make the organization far more visible and accessible to residents and tourists alike. (The venue has been occupied for several years by Pine Street Art Works; owner Liza Cowan is moving down the street to the Soda Plant, where she’ll set up a new, downsized business, called Small Equals, as part of the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery.)

While SEABA’s new home will include its business office, its main purpose, says Feldman, will be “disseminating cultural information” to the public. Staff will direct visitors to cultural events not only in the South End but throughout Burlington — including ones at the Fleming Museum and the Firehouse Gallery — and the region.

“It will be like a way to walk into the Seven Days arts calendar,” Feldman quips. “We’re hoping to provide as much information as we can.”

As a one-stop info forum and welcome center, the new SEABA office will be unique in town. Currently, says Feldman, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, Burlington City Arts and a small kiosk on Church Street each offer only selected cultural listings.

The new SEABA space will also contain a members’ gallery, Feldman says, and facilities for art classes and talks. And it will have a “didactic aspect” — a display that documents the South End’s 40-year history of transformation from a manufacturing district to an arts and small-business, postindustrial incubator complex.

That shift began with the Howard Space building SEABA has chosen for its new home. The former brush-manufacturing plant lay vacant, like many of its industrial neighbors, from the 1950s until the early ’70s, when local developer Ray Unsworth bought it with the idea of providing low-rent commercial space for start-up businesses. (Ray’s daughter, Karen Unsworth, now manages the complex for Unsworth Properties Inc.) Lake Champlain Chocolates and Conant Metal & Light both got their start at Howard Space.

Since then, many of the area’s vacated warehouses, factories and distribution centers have been transformed into affordable — and aesthetically desirable — office and studio rental spaces, including the Maltex Building and Soda Plant on Pine Street and the Flynndog and Vermont Hardware Company complexes on Flynn. A Seven Days story prior to last year’s Art Hop detailed the past and present uses of postindustrial buildings in the South End.

SEABA’s mission to advocate for the South End’s thriving creative economy will be well served by its move, says Feldman. Though it won’t take place until after next month’s Art Hop, which happens September 10 and 11, the new center will be across the street from the Maltex Building — the hub of the Hop this year. Notes Feldman, “We’re stepping front and center.”

Did you appreciate this story?

Show us your ❤️ by becoming a Seven Days Super Reader.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

About The Author

Amy Lilly

Amy Lilly has been a contributing arts writer for Seven Days since 2007.

About the Artist

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen has been shooting photographs for Seven Days since 1995. Read all about his work here.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Recent Comments

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2019 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation