CHARLOTTE — The Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte is celebrating its move to a new home, right on the outskirts of Uptown.
The full move from the Center’s former home on Central Ave. was completed in just one day, said Board of Directors Chair Denise Palm-Beck.
“The move was fantastic,” she told Q-Notes. “About 20 people helped us and we got everything moved in only two trips from the old space to the new.”
The Center has been open at the new N.C. Music Factory Complex in Uptown’s Fourth Ward since late February. Since then, the board and volunteers have spent time planning how they’ll organize the space to make it both welcoming and functional.
Palm-Beck said she’s enjoyed hearing feedback from the Center’s many visitors, who’ve said they enjoy the homey aesthetic and old mill feel of the space.
“They like that mix of home-iness and industrialism,” she said. “They love the windows and all the exposed brick. We’re going to try to keep that as a frame of reference.”
Upon entering the space, visitors find themselves standing in a comfortable, narrow but long room bounded by brick on the right and large, airy windows to the left. The Center’s second room, with a maximum capacity of 50-60 people, will be used as a free-flowing, all-purpose space. It will accommodate a kitchen, meeting room and assembly hall.
The relocation was forced by an increase in rent at the organization’s previous location. After new owners informed the board that their rent would skyrocket to $4,000 or more, both the Center and the neighboring White Rabbit store were forced to find new locations. By contrast, the Center’s new location, in an up-and-coming economic development, costs the group only $2,800 per month.
Over the past year, the Center has seen many of their goals accomplished, including an increase in their volunteer base. Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturday, part-time staff member Michael Kelley keeps the Center open and running. Each night at least one or two volunteers join Kelley in greeting visitors, Palm-Beck said.
In the coming year, Palm-Beck said the Center hopes to develop more programming and activities. She is encouraging the organization to utilize the often successful committee structure in organizing the volunteers.
“The committee structure really gets things accomplished,” she said. “It also lets those who want to be involved, but not on a board level, continue to help the organization, and for the board to find new members who have dedication to our mission.”
Yoga is the newest activity added to the Center’s calendar, with sessions scheduled every Monday evening.
On Apr. 11, the Center will hold an open house to show off its new digs. The event will feature entertainment, refreshments, beer and wine. Programs and groups sponsored by the Center, such as Pride Charlotte, will also be present.
Palm-Beck said she’s excited about the upcoming open house and is hoping for a large crowd.
For more information or directions, visit www.gaycharlotte.com or call 704-333-0144. The Center is open Tuesday-Thursday 5-8 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m. or for special events and by reservation.