Opening soon: One Longfellow Square

Venue watch
By JEFF INGLIS  |  March 21, 2007

Longfellow’s statue is looking in the right direction, keeping his eyes on the former Center for Cultural Exchange.

When the CCE went belly-up last summer (see “Center for Cultural Exchange’s Books Out Of Balance,” by Jeff Inglis, June 9, 2006), architect Christopher Campbell, who owns and runs the Studio Building on Congress Street, bought the place with his business partner Stephen Benenson. Since then they have been renting it out to private groups and non-profits to host events, and planning to open the place for more regular public entertainment.

That day is about to arrive: Campbell has hired local photographer Derek Jackson to run the place, and says he is hoping for approval from the city for a liquor license (to serve alcohol at concerts and the like) by early April. What comes after that is a bit of an open question at the moment, for a venue whose name (also its address, One Longfellow Square) is intended to cover a broad spectrum of events.

“We really want to make that space available to a wide range of people,” says Campbell, who notes that he will continue to accept event rental requests from private organizations. But all of the sound and lighting equipment from the Center for Cultural Exchange was included in the building’s sale, and is still up and available.

Campbell is particularly taken with the curved wall at the back of the small theater/concert hall, and has hopes for projecting onto it — what exactly, he’s a bit cagey about, but he allows that a mix of event types — much like at SPACE Gallery, whose building he also owns, and on whose board he serves — is “a really good idea.”

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