Roots rerouting

Changes for Providence Inner City Arts; Magaziner gets in the race
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  October 23, 2013

For those of you who have enjoyed the Roots Cultural Center for the past two-plus years, we’re sad to note that they sent out a press release Monday announcing that the building at 276 Westminster Street that housed Roots has been sold to 276 Westminster St. LLC, a Providence-based real estate development firm.

This unique spot was created as a forum for programming that celebrated a spirit of diversity and broad cultural representation. Roots featured an incredible variety of performances and activities. It was operated under the auspices of Providence Inner City Arts, a not-for-profit organization, and they’ve arranged with the new owners to keep the space as an arts and community center. The new owners say that they plan to “grow and develop the venue’s traditions, providing a space for the greater Providence community to gather, share, and engage in the city’s future, through the arts and education.”

Len Cabral, president of PICA said, “We’ve had a great run and are tremendously proud of the programs and activity we generated . . . over time, however, we saw that our energy and resources were going towards the facility rather than towards programming, which was our primary mission. We made the decision to look for a solution and when the opportunity presented itself with 276 Westminster St. LLC, we decided to take it. The timing was perfect and we hope to collaborate with the new owners in the future.”

It’s good to know that there will be some events and programming still going on at 276 Westminster Street. And Cabral, a nationally celebrated storyteller, will have an opportunity to go back to his art full-time without the added responsibility of presiding over one of Providence’s finest venues.

P&J offer our best wishes to the Roots folks and we’ll be keeping your eyes open for what will be happening at the same old spot.

New kid on the financial block

Phillipe and Jorge were delighted to see young Seth Magaziner formally throw his hat into the ring this week as a Democratic candidate for general treasurer in 2014. P&J have known Seth’s parents, Ira and Suzanne, for donkey’s years, and if he has half of Ira’s intellect and Suzanne’s charm and commitment to the Rhode Island community, he’s a lock for the job. Phillipe worked for his father back in the 1990s at a business consulting firm called SJS Inc., which was named for the three Magaziner children: Seth, Jonathan, and Sarah. Seth would sometimes hang around the office and if there was any learning by osmosis there and at home, he’s going to be smarter than your average bear.

Seth graduated from Brown, where he followed in his father’s rather large footsteps as a good old campus activist and rabble-rouser for social causes. (Ira worked with a professor during his undergrad days to produce the Magaziner-Maxwell report that made national headlines and led to Brown adopting a pass-fail curriculum for students who just wanted to explore new fields, rather than chalk up grades to get them into law or med school. As P. always says, “Soccer got me into Brown, and Ira got me out.”)

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