May 06--The Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center (SOMACC) has been busy in recent years, regarding their project of obtaining what was the dilapidated alley between them and Richard Noggins, and turning it into an attractive space for programming. The alley was granted to them by the City of Portsmouth, after they made a case that the alley needed major renovations and that the state of the alley was flooding their basement. They have since completely renovated the area, placed new wiring in the alley for lighting, laid pressed concrete and hung the new steel gates and banners at the entrances.
Former SOMACC Director Pegi Wilkes began the project with much enthusiasm and pushed forward most of the process. The alley was being wrapped up around the time current directors Mark Chepp and Charlotte Gordon stepped in. Last weekend, the museum very eagerly held the opening ceremony of the new alley, named it and also revealed their new ale at a jazz party.
The event was the inaugural of what they are calling "plaza parties," which will be held in the newly named Security Central Plaza. The events will be held often throughout the summer and feature not only their personal ale, which was brewed at the Portsmouth Brew Pub, but will also feature many musical and performing arts acts.
"The staff was pleased, the crowd was pleased, the board was pleased, the band seemed to be having fun; it was just a very good way to celebrate the naming of the plaza and the first of our outdoor events," Charlotte Gordon, artistic director of the Southern Ohio Museum, said. "We weren't sure how music was going to sound in the narrow space, or how the long, skinny space was going to work with a crowd, but we ended up having enough seats set up for people and standing room for people. I think it is a really fun space to have these plaza parties and will be having many more in the future."
The museum will be releasing a tentative schedule of events shortly, which can be found at www.somacc.com or at their Facebook page. The museum will be hosting a family day this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. They will be hosting events in the plaza and in the museum. Activities include face painting, art education, games and more.
"I don't want to make it sound like we have goals to reach, but I feel like it happened the way we wanted it to happen," Gordon said. "It was good and we look forward to using that space as an expansion of museum programming."
Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.
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