Art will continue to flourish as the MAC prepares for new move

Full accessibility, new programs and more will be available at the new location opening soon.

Pat Worley, Jeffrey Lucas and Libby Lucas pictured next to design plans for the new location of the Medford Arts Center, opening Sept. 14 at 8 N Main Street in Medford.

A shift in location isn’t the only change the Medford Arts Center will be undergoing in the coming weeks.

As the MAC moves from 18 N. Main St. to 8 N. Main St., the center will be releasing a host of new classes and events for the fall season, along with an upgraded floor plan to appeal to all community members.

Jeffrey Lucas, current board president, began his involvement with the MAC about eight years ago, where he assisted in the process of finding the building where the MAC presently sits.

After a conflict with MAC meetings and his company meetings as a commercial realtor, Lucas was unable to maintain full involvement with the MAC.

However, his wife, Libby Lucas, continued volunteering with the MAC throughout the years. About a year ago, after witnessing a decline in volunteer assistance in the community, she went home to her husband and told him to “do something” about the problem.

Those two words sparked the motivation to make drastic changes to allow the MAC to reach its full potential.

Once the space at 8 N. Main St. became available, the move was fast-paced. The purchase of the building took place on June 22, construction began on July 2 and an open house weekend is set for Sept. 14, 15 and 16.

According to Lucas, the main motive for the move was to create a fully handicap accessible space to welcome all residents to stop by and enjoy the work of local artists.

There will be a ramp placed at the back entrance, the floors have been made level and there is also a handicap accessible bathroom.

Steps to enter different spaces have also been removed.

“I think the biggest beneficial thing is [going to be] the accessibility to all parts of the building. Look at these steps here,” Lucas said as he toured the MAC’s soon-to-be-former location at 18 N. Main St. “They’re quaint and charming, but they’re not really safe, and they’re not really good for seniors and some people can’t get upstairs.”

Lucas said there will be more useful space at the new location, with designated gallery space, classrooms, a gift shop and a kitchen/office.

He also said there will be a large window space facing the gazebo on Main Street, providing the MAC an opportunity to incorporate music in a more beneficial way with the ability to host concerts directly next door.

Along with many additional programs in all mediums of art, Sundays will be “family day” at the MAC, every second Friday of the month will be “Artwalk” with pieces of local art displayed in 11 nearby locations and every fourth Friday of the month will feature veterans classes and poetry classes.

Membership meetings will also be held on Thursday evenings.

MAC officials also hope that the MAC simply having a new building, along with the added programs and full accessibility, will draw in more artists and volunteers.

“[The MAC] is really the only public art area that anyone can enter an exhibition at — we’re the only ones with our doors wide open,” MAC Executive Director Pat Worley said. “We’re reaching out to appeal to all different types of artists. Art is healing, it is intellectual, and I feel it’s very stimulating — there is not a boring artist out there.”

Those interested in purchasing a membership, participating in classes or volunteering at the MAC can visit www.medfordarts.com.