The Amazing Things Arts Center was founded in 2005 to bring together a diverse community of artists, arts supporters and arts appreciators of all ages, cultures and interests in a supportive and nurturing environment. Although the first three years were spent in north Framingham in a small storefront in the historic village of Saxonville, it was clear by 2006, after repeated sold-out weekend performances, that a larger venue was needed. In May 2007, at a Framingham Town Hall Meeting, a vote was passed to lease the Historic downtown Hollis Street Firehouse to Amazing Things for a period of 50 years!
That same year, as part of our agreement to renovate the Hollis Street Firehouse over a ten year period, we began a Capital Campaign to complete the necessary first phase building improvements. The Board of Amazing Things raised over $250,000 in cash and in-kind contributions from individuals and companies who donated time and resources to prepare the space. Work completed during this phase included a repaired and newly painted performance space, electrical system replacement, new lighting installation, bathroom and kitchen upgrades, office renovations, a newly paved parking lot, outdoor landscaping, and partial restoration of brickwork to the façade of the building. Although we were pleased with our accomplishments, it was only the beginning of our commitment to restore the building.
We officially settled into our new home during the summer of 2008, and immediately went about the business of bringing the center to life. With a performance seating capacity of 150 and space for art exhibits, classrooms and lectures, we would begin to realize goals we had only dreamed of – goals that we had identified in our 2005 Strategic Plan but had not thus far been able to put into action. We were finally able to involve larger and more diverse audiences and members in a way that would not only expand the community’s awareness of Amazing Things’ offerings, but would also contribute to the economic development and renewal of a challenged area. Our Founder, Michael Moran, retired in late 2012 and brought on Phil Knudsen to continue our work. Phil retired at the end of 2014.
In 2015, we celebrated TEN YEARS of bringing the arts to the Metrowest community. Ellen Sturgis was named Executive Director in April 2015 and is working with the Board of Directors to strengthen our role throughout the community as an Arts Leader. Our art galleries were updated and refocused to feature Metrowest artists as a result of the arrival of Melanie Christopher as office manager and gallery coordinator. A revised Strategic Plan developed in the summer of 2017 renewed our commitment to diverse programming and audiences as well as continued efforts to diversify our funding sources. In Fall of 2017, we launched our fourth art gallery, called Morton Street Gallery, inside the Exhibit A Brewing taproom. In 2018, we launched new partnerships with Rock Off Main, an all ages rock show featuring middle, high school and college students and Rhythm with Reason, a hip-hop/spoken word open mic series. Join us as we continue to evolve and expand!
June 2018 launched a new chapter for Amazing Things Arts Center. Ellen Sturgis announced her decision to step down as Executive Director; the Board of Directors have launched a search for her replacement. Help us spread the word and find our next leader!