Great Barrington — Saint James Place, the 1857 Gothic Revival church in downtown Great Barrington, has received a matching grant of $247,000 from Mass Development and the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund.
State Representative William “Smitty” Pigantelli declared, “This is great news, not only for St. James Place, but for the town of Great Barrington. This grant will help complete what will be another economic catalyst for the Southern Berkshires. I was happy to lend my support to this Herculean restoration.”
Saved from the wrecking ball in 2010 by former St. James Episcopal Church parishioners Sally Harris and her husband, Fred, Saint James Place will serve as creative hub, permanent home, and year-round performance venue for small and mid-sized cultural organizations in Great Barrington and southern Berkshire County. When the renovation is complete, Saint James Place will house performance spaces, rehearsal space, kitchen facilities, and professional sound and lighting. Historic preservation requirements, along with advanced technology and the addition of first-class amenities, has been an enormous undertaking and is being accomplished via a six-year strategic planning and fundraising process aided by support from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Town of Great Barrington, and private donors. Having raised approximately 75 percent of the $9 million cost of the project, Saint James Place is now seeking to raise the $2.5 million in capital funds needed to complete construction. “We hope to open debt free and be done with fundraising so we are not a burden on the community. Our business plan is designed to be self-sustaining,” said Fred Harris.