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Sacred Spaces and the Arts: A Chat with Rich Kirk from the Calvary Center

Posted September 17th, 2012

Prarthana Jayaram is a Philly-based writer and regular Festival Blog contributor. She talked to Rich Kirk, the chairman of the board for the Cavalry United Methodist Church. The West Philly church, located at 48th Street and Baltimore Avenue, hosts the Cavalry Center for Culture and Community, which in turn hosts Curio Theatre Company and Crossroads Music. Crossroads produced two shows for this year’s Philly Fringe: The Legend of Nahia: A Healing Story, which closed Saturday, and a concert this Wednesday, September 19 with Sao Paolo Underground (which features killer trumpeter and Chicago-by-way-of-Sao Paolo scenester Rob Mazurek). After the jump: Rich Kirk on Cavalry, and video from Sao Paolo Underground.

Name: Cavalry Center for Culture and Community (connected to Cavalry United Methodist Church).

Denomination: Methodist.

Location: 815 South 48th Street.

Connection to the arts: Resident theater company Curio and Crossroads Music.

Main Liaisons: I work with Paul Kuhn and Gay Carducci from Curio Theatre Company.

Length of relationship: Since 2003.

Latest updates: Building a black box theater in the basement, which will be soundproof.

Challenges of hosting an arts organization in a religious space: The scheduling is often tough. We’ve had to figure out a way to work it all out equitably. It will be easier now that we have the soundproofing [in the basement theater], so music and acting performances can happen simultaneously.

Benefits of the relationship: The best thing has been what goes on in the building has generated a lot of street traffic and lot of activity on Baltimore Avenue. I would say that it’s become almost trendy there now. A lot of people are using the building—different kinds of people that never would have walked into a church before. It’s become a real community hub.

–Prarthana Jayaram

Photo via the Curio Theatre blog.

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