The former town hall in Chelmsford, MA stands elegantly in the center of town. The building was erected in 1879 and was the center of the town’s government, until the town built a new facility on Billerica Road in 1981. Falling into disrepair, a 1982 preservation agreement prevented the building from being demolished or converted into condominiums. A Town Hall Utilization Study Committee was formed to seek proposals, and the almost unanimous opinion was to turn the Old Town Hall into an arts center.
The Chelmsford Center for the Arts opened Nov. 7, 2009. Town Meeting thereafter voted to use Community Preservation Funds to renovate and restore the building, and on July 4, 2012 the Chelmsford Center for the Arts officially reopened in the fully-restored elegant facility. A ground floor entrance, elevator, and heating and air conditioning systems were added, along with dedicated spaces including a seminar room, gallery and performance spaces. The former Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium has a new stage, movie screen, and a Steinway concert grand piano. The building is fully handicapped-accessible with an elevator to carry guests to all levels, as well as to the stage.
The Chelmsford Arts Center is self-sustaining and is not supported by taxpayer money. The CCA Executive Director and the board are appointment by the Town Manager and are all volunteers. The only funded position is the Technical Director. One of the many arts, music and performing organizations that use the facility is the Chelmsford Art Society, a nonprofit organization with the goal to bring recognition and participation in the Arts to the surrounding community.