Former church site to be Blackman alternative

Former church site to be Blackman alternative

While the administration is evaluating the space for student group offices in the Curry Student Center, light is being shed on the issue of efficient locations for programming.

With only 11 dates available for student groups in Blackman Auditorium students are struggling to find the right place for their events. The former Saint Ann Church on St. Stephen Street, which Northeastern acquired two years ago, is not yet in operation as an alternative.

Adriana Campos, Student Government Association (SGA) executive vice president for student affairs, said SGA is working with administration to find solutions to the problem.

Campos said she would like to see the number of dates available for student activities in Blackman raised to about 40 dates per year. The Center for the Performing Arts is in charge of scheduling dates in the auditorium.

One reason so few dates are available is because Blackman cannot be used if the Studio Theatre, located behind the auditorium, is in use because no soundproofing exists between the two spaces, Campos said.

Currently, Blackman is unavailable during exam weeks and reading days in December and April, she said. Vice President for Student Affairs Ed Klotzbier said he would like to work with Provost Ahmed Abdelal to look into having groups schedule events during these weeks to act as “stress relievers.”

“After studying in the library, they can take a couple of hours off to laugh … see a comedy show,” he said.

Smart scheduling and maximizing use of the space earlier in the semester, when Blackman is often wide open because groups have not had time to schedule, are two key components to increasing the number of open dates, Klotzbier said.

The trouble is most groups want to use the auditorium during busier times, such as Friday and Saturday nights, he said. Holding events on Sunday nights could be another possible solution to the problem, Klotzbier said.

However, both Campos and Klotzbier agreed it is important to look beyond Blackman for available space.

“Saint Ann [Church] is the No. 1 or No. 2 for alternative space for students,” Campos said.

The former church is currently being renovated and should be ready by January or September 2007 depending on how the renovations go, Klotzbier said. The Office of Government Relations and Community Affairs is working with the community to zone the space for programming.

Besides Saint Ann, Klotzbier said there are many locations around campus that could be better publicized and used to their full potential. These locations include a recently renovated space in Kerr Hall, a new theatre in West Village F, the Amilcar Cabral Center in the John D. O’Bryant African American Center and the new Alumni Center on Columbus Avenue.

Klotzbier said an event needs to be looked at fairly and placed in an appropriate venue based on its audience size.

Another problem with programming is the high number of students turned away from popular shows, such as Teddy Geiger, at afterHOURS, Klotzbier said.

“I hate to see afterHOURS have a hot show and have to turn 200 people away,” he said. “Why can’t it be an event: ‘Live at Saint Ann, presented by afterHOURS?'”

He also said he would like to pursue the idea of putting on more outdoor concerts in association with afterHOURS. The university is in the process of hiring a new manager at afterHOURS who will be responsible for more large-scale programming, he said.

“If that’s where Teddy Geiger is, and we move it, students will come,” he said.

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