Arts organization in limbo regarding next move

Brookline Tab/May 12, 2005
By Rick Holland

Locked doors greeted students and teachers at the Brookline Community Center for the Arts on Thursday morning, May 12. An eviction order was given to BCCA president and creative director Dan Marshall at about 9 p.m. on May 11, interrupting a few classes that were in progress at the time.

“We can’t go inside the building now unless we get a temporary injunction,” Marshall told the TAB.

The BCCA lost out on a bid to buy its Coolidge Corner studio building at 14 Green St. for $1.9 million, after landlord Ed Shamsi reportedly reached an agreement in late April to sell the building to the Kabbalah Centre for $2 million.

Over the past week, Marshall has attempted to schedule a meeting between Kabbalah Centre representatives and local real estate mogul Harold Brown, owner of Hamilton Company. Brown has said he would finance a purchase of the building through his Hamilton Charitable Trust, providing a long term lease to the BCCA and possibly the Kabbalah Centre as well. “That would be the Solomonic solution,” said Brown.

The Hamilton Charitable Foundation followed a similar course in 1989, when purchased the Coolidge Corner Theatre, saving it from a planned demolition.

But Marshall has been unable to get Kabbalah Centre representatives to commit to a meeting, leaving the continued operation of the BCCA up in the air. The Newton-based Kabbalah Centre did not return a call for comment by the TAB.

Marshall said a “peaceful protest and rally” outside the BCCA building would “likely occur” on Sunday, May 15 from noon to 4 p.m. Asked about a court hearing to regain occupancy of the building, Marshall told the TAB he was not sure if the BCCA would be filing any legal action.

The Kaballah, which has its genesis in Jewish mysticism, has attracted a worldwide following spurred most recently by Hollywood celebrities such as Madonna, Demi Moore, and Rosanne Barr, among others, who count themselves as followers. The organization has 40 Kabbalah Centres worldwide and its signature symbol, a red yarn bracelet, is worn by many followers.

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