On Wednesday night, directors of the Americal Civic Center in Wakefield unveiled a new portrait of the building, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in January. The painting of the civic center is by Elizabeth Lowry of Wakefield, whose specialties include home and building portraits.
The painting was funded with a grant from the Massachusetts Arts Council.
Cheryl Webb Scott, a founding board member of the Americal Civic Center, told Wakefield Patch that the unveiling of the painting is a good way to start getting the word out about the 100th anniversary of the building. The "Wakipedia" page for the civic center, run by the Wakefield Library, reports that the name was changed to Americal in 1976 and that the Americal Civic Center Association took stewardship of the building in 1983. The building was reportedly dedicated on January 15, 1913.
The civic center is still owned by the town but is run without tax dollars as a nonprofit by an 11-person board, said Scott. She recalled how back in the earliest days of the association, volunteers were needed to open up and close the building after each use and to clean it. "We're a far cry from what we were back in '82," she added.
Looking ahead, Scott reported that a committee is currently working on some other ways to mark the civic center's centennial. A series of lectures about the building and about Wakefield history are one likelihood, in the Heritage Room of the civic center. Another fundraising possibility may be to reproduce some of the antique maps of Wakefield that can be viewed at the center.