ZUMIX Firehouse, Inc.
Built 1923 Renovation 2009 Gold LEED Certification
260 Sumner Street, East Boston, MA
Commercial: 9,000 square feet
Zumix is an arts organization focused on building community through the arts and empowering youth through music and cultural programming. It was started in 1991 by local residents. Since 1991, over 1500 youths have participated in Zumix programs. It recently was awarded an abandoned fire station at the corner of Orleans and Sumner Street to redevelop into new rehearsal and programming space. It’s most recent efforts include the launch of a public radio station which will provide youth, especially physically disabled youth, with the opportunity to learn these skills.
The ZUMIX Firehouse is home to our award-winning programs, featuring a state-of-the-art recording studio, radio station and gorgeous performance hall.
This nonprofit youth music organization will move to a new and expanded facility that will allow an expansion of services to its target population. ZUMIX is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to building community through the arts. Their mission is empowered youth who use music to make strong positive change in their lives, their communities, and the world. Their work is based on the involvement and empowerment of racially and ethnically diverse, low-income, youth at-risk—both as program participants and as an integral part of our organization.
Located in East Boston, ZUMIX provides top-quality cultural programming as an alternative way for young people to deal with frustration, anger and fear, and as a method of building cultural understanding and acceptance in a community which has had the largest demographic shift of any Boston neighborhood over the past ten years.
Renovation and construction of an existing fire station to house a non-profit that will provide various training and education of music and related areas to children. Using New Market Tax Credits provided by MHIC, renovations started and expecting to be completed October 2009.
Participation in their programs reflects local demographics. They serve a mixture of 43% Latino/a (both Central American and Caribbean); 30% White (largely Italian); 20% Black (including African-American, Haitian and Jamaican), and 8% Asian (Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese) youth. Most ZUMIX participants live in East Boston. For example, they recently increased outreach efforts at Maverick Gardens housing development to provide caring service and continuity during their reconstruction. This has changed our demographics with an increase largely in African American youth, who bring their own cultural influences, which are being reflected in their new program offerings. Participants in their programs range in age from 5-25 (most are 12-18). Some ZUMIX participants are court involved, 40% live in public housing and an even larger number receive public assistance. Ninety-five percent are low or moderate income by HUD standards.
Zumix has been very successful enlisting several volunteers to augment their programs and supplement their administrative staff. EBCDC has supplied volunteers and will continue to aid Zumix with its volunteer outreach program to aid the achievement of Goals and Objectives.
The joint partnership of ZUMIX, Inc and EBCDC, Inc. has insured the long-time existence of this attractive program. Funding contributions from private foundations and individuals surpassed all expectations.
The Engine 40 Company Firehouse was built in 1923. A brick building, it’s ideally located one block from East Boston’s Maverick Square on Sumner Street and includes approximately 9,000 sq. ft. of space.
In the summer of 2004 the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) published application guidelines for the fire-house. Zumix worked with the East Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC) to present a very competitive proposal and in May 2005 were awarded the building be the city.
For Zumix, The Engine Company 40 Firehouse offered a very special opportunity – the potential to trans-form a long-abandoned building into a beautiful, functional, and inspiring cultural and performance space for participants, and the East Boston community at large.
The CDC worked to create exhibition and performance space, a gift shop, recording studios, a computer lab, a dance studio, soundproof practice rooms, administrative offices and community conference rooms within the firehouse.
“On the first floor, the fourteen- foot-high ceiling and open floor plan unobstructed by columns or bearing walls are perfect for a state-of-the- art performance space. The basement and second level can be renovated for classroom, office, meeting, practice, recording, production, and exhibition space,” said Steczynski.