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Cultural center expands mission statement

Southampton Cultural Center, 25 Pond Lane, Southampton: Concerts

Southampton Cultural Center, 25 Pond Lane, Southampton: Concerts in the Park, Southampton Village, 631-287-4377, Concerts: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Wed. July 8-Sept. 2. Bring beach chairs, blankets and a picnic. Concerts are located at Agawam Park or Coopers Beach in Southampton Village as noted in schedule. Credit: Ian J. Stark

As it does every year, the Southampton Village board has approved a mission statement for the Southampton Cultural Center.

But there were significant differences between statements adopted last year, and in previous decades, and the one approved unanimously last week.

The wording for 2013 was a little more expansive, and a little more ambitious. "We wanted to jazz it up a little," center executive director Kirsten C. Lonnie said.

One reason: The Parrish Art Museum -- a village mainstay since 1897 -- moved out of the village in 2012.

Village officials, who own the Parrish building but not its collections, have been working to find a new use for the former museum and gallery since 2006, when plans for the move first were announced. They also have been looking for ways to maintain the artistic and cultural atmosphere the Parrish brought to the village.

The cultural center is expected to play a big role in that task.

"The cultural center is expanding on its core mission. We have three legs -- education, live performances and exhibitions -- and for us, that will not change," Lonnie said.

"The village has a master plan that includes an arts district. We are at the heart of it . . . We'll do what we have been doing, trying to attract a broader audience and bring in more people."

In the past, the mission statement tasked the center with "providing venues for quality education, exhibition and performance."

This year, the job will be "to engage our diverse community and to nourish excellence in all creative art forms as a welcoming venue for dynamic programs centered on education, exhibition and performance."

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