Boston Community Music Center to open new campus in Roxbury

Boston Community Music Center to open new campus in Roxbury

Boston Community Music Center staff and students visit the organization’s new campus in Nubian Square.Photo: Banshan Street

A new song is about to begin as a local community music education group plans to bring music lessons to Nubian Square.

The Boston Community Music Center, which provides youth music training to approximately 400 students and is one of the largest outside providers of arts education to Boston Public Schools, announced on April 4 plans to open a new space in Nubian Plaza on Washington Street .

Zachary Sheets, the center’s chief promotion officer, said he hopes the new space will bring a greater artistic reputation to a community that is on the cusp of expansion by numerous arts and cultural groups.

“We don’t want to perpetuate the idea that if you want to participate in the arts, you have to drive into a community like the South End or the Back Bay,” Sheets said. “We want this to be a community-building feeling.”

The new site is an expansion, not a relocation — the music center plans to keep its current location on the South End in addition to opening a new campus in Roxbury — and Sheets said the space should allow the center to accommodate more on its campus Many students.

The expansion, scheduled to open in 2026, is part of a broader effort by the organization to change its tone and expand its reach and impact.

Historically, the music center has viewed itself as a community music school “best kept secret,” Sheets said, but the move will put the organization in the spotlight around issues such as culturally inclusive teaching, music therapy and youth arts workforce development. Have greater influence in the public conversation.

“If you are a top-secret institution, you can’t do this, but if you are an anchor institution in the cultural district, you can do this,” he said.

A core aspect of the expansion is an effort to make the center’s classes more accessible to residents of communities like Roxbury and Dorchester. Currently, Sheets said, families often have to drive to the music center in the South End, drop off their children and then wait for classes to end with hazard lights flashing.

Lorraine Payne Wheeler, director of the Roxbury Path Forward Neighborhood Association, said the new location will be convenient, especially given its proximity to Nubian Station hub.

As a child, her son took piano and violin lessons at the Boston Community Music Center. She said she would drop him off and drive around the South Side looking for a parking spot.

She said she is excited to see the organization expand into Nubian Square and to see the organization continue to provide students with arts and cultural education that may not be available during school hours.

“School systems aren’t always able to fund the arts, so organizations like this provide opportunities for kids outside of school time to branch out into cultural areas that aren’t always covered in public schools,” Payne Wheeler said.

The move by the Community Music Center adds to efforts to enhance and revitalize Nubian Square, which includes a focus on arts and culture.

The Nubian Ascends development is being developed on the site of the Blair car park to bring arts and cultural programming to the area and increase career training in the life sciences industry. New businesses such as Jazz Urbane, which plans to open a jazz cafe in the Bolling Building sometime this year, plan to put down roots in the square. Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology is moving nearby — the school broke ground on its new campus in March. Developers are building new affordable artist housing nearby.

Payne Wheeler called this a very exciting time in Roxbury.

“As more projects like this come online, you’ll see Nubian Square come to life,” she said.

The Boston Community Music Center hopes that by bringing students and their families to the area, it may help inspire new life in the area.

“Being part of a new wave of businesses, arts businesses and commercial businesses that are open after school and into the evening is going to be a really big thing for the square,” Sheets said. “To get more foot traffic, People stop at the coffee shop before class and go out to eat after class; … I think that’s an important part of what that means for our relationships with our neighbors.

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