Historic folk and roots music venue the Freight and Salvage announced it was awarded a whopping $1.161 million grant today for its new home, a green building to be contructed in downtown Berkeley. The coffeehouse, which is currently located off University at San Pablo Ave., plans to move to its new 18,000 square foot venue next year to coincide with its fortieth anniversary. The new venue will also include a café, CD and sheet music store, as well as a performance space. Read the full press release after the jump.
Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse Awarded $1.161 Million Grant for New Home, Begins Construction on Green Building in Downtown Berkeley
California Cultural and Historical Endowment Grant to Fund State-of-the-Art Performance Space for Folk Music
BERKELEY, Calif., December 5, 2007 - Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, the longest-running, full-time venue for folk and traditional music west of the Mississippi River, announced today it has been awarded a $1.161 million grant from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) to fund construction of its new green performance space, school, and café. Construction will begin before the end of the year on the nonprofit's 18,000-square-foot venue at 2020 Addison Street, in Berkeley's Downtown Arts District.
The Freight's new home will have a listening room that doubles the audience capacity of its existing 220-seat venue. The plan also includes an additional 1,339-square-foot performance space, state-of-the-art sound system, café, and store offering CDs and sheet music.
As an all-ages, family-friendly venue, the Freight is using this opportunity to expand its education program, and will offer a variety of folk and traditional music classes in six classrooms, bring music into the local schools, and establish a library and archive that will be open to the public.
"We're honored that the State of California has recognized the importance of the Freight & Salvage project by awarding this grant. It allows us to begin construction on the new building immediately," Freight & Salvage Executive Director Steve Baker said. "We believe strongly in the artistic and cultural value of the music we present and we're very excited about the opportunity our new home in Berkeley's Downtown Arts District gives us to bring this art form to a wider audience."
Baker said the Freight plans to finish construction and open the doors to its new home next year, coinciding with the organization's 40th anniversary celebration.
The Freight's new green building will use recycled materials, reuse some existing materials, and will retain the existing structure's façade and some of its adjoining interior space to preserve the character of the original building. Builders will follow rigorous guidelines for achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The venue, designed by the Berkeley-based architecture firm of Marcy Wong & Donn Logan, will have a "living" roof of California native plants.
The CCHE grants were awarded from Proposition 40 bond funds, approved by California voters in 2002. The grants support the acquisition, development, and preservation of culturally significant and historic buildings and sites. Of the $43 million awarded by the CCHE in this final grant round, the Freight's $1.161 million grant was the second largest made to a Bay Area entity.
Realizing that the organization was outgrowing its current facility, the staff and board began making plans in 1999 to build a new home. With help from the City of Berkeley and the Freight's friends and supporters, the nonprofit organization purchased the downtown property in 2000. Musician and Freight board member Danny Carnahan and investor Warren Hellman, cofounder of Hellman & Friedman, LLC, launched a capital campaign in 2005 and have raised $7.1 million toward the $9.3 million goal.
Nancy Owens founded the club in 1968, tacking on the words "Coffee House" to the "Freight & Salvage" sign of the used furniture store that occupied the original location. Owens initially intended the Freight to be an informal salon at which people could gather and socialize, but as musicians began asking to perform, music soon became the focal point. In 1983, the Freight formally incorporated as the nonprofit Berkeley Society for the Preservation of Traditional Music.
Since 1968, the Freight & Salvage has become a world-famous venue for folk, Americana, bluegrass, Celtic, blues, jazz, and Hawaiian music, and also presents a rich and diverse program of world music. Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Odetta, Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, David Grisman, Alvin Youngblood Hart, David Bromberg, Dave Alvin, Dar Williams, Nickel Creek, the Persuasions, and R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders are among the artists who have performed at the Freight.