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The Bing Hangs Out a Shingle

Springfield's old Bing Theater takes another step toward its return

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Thursday, May 21, 2009
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Brian Hale, vice president of Springfield's X Main Street Corporation, the organization engaged in turning Springfield's old Bing Theater into a new entity, the Bing Arts Center, delivers some good news and some bad: "Unfortunately, we haven't made very much headway in raising the necessary funds to finish our phase one renovations. [Our June 20 fundraiser] should help a great deal, but we need to raise approximately $65,000."

The Bing project, subject of a recent Advocate story ("The Once and Future Bing," Feb. 19, 2009), needs that $65,000 in part to make up for state funding that disappeared with Gov. Patrick's budget cuts. The X Main Street Corporation was slated to receive $75,000, but after an initial payment of $18,750 last fall, the state cancelled the contract.

X Main Street carried on, just as it's done since 2004, undaunted. Efforts are currently underway to borrow the money to get the Bing's nearly complete phase one—the old lobby, newly turned into art gallery and spaces for use as classrooms, and even a coffee and snack bar—in business. Getting phase one humming should offer the momentum to realize phase two, turning the theater proper into performance spaces.

The phase one space is already occasionally open; on Friday, June 12 at 5:30 p.m., the Bing's doors will open for the opening reception of an exhibit of artwork by Springfield Public School art teachers. On June 20, the Bing's doors will open for a wine- and food-tasting fundraiser featuring live music by the Eric Bascom Trio. (For more info on the event, check out the Bing website at bingartscenter.org.)

There's also some very visible good news: the Bing's sleek new sign is in place. It already looks good, but Hale says more money will enable ceiling repairs, which will in turn enable the installation of lights that will keep the sign aglow at night.

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