La Grua Center: Reopening- What you need to know

As we dip our collective toes back into the re-opening pool, we’d like to give you an update on how we presently intend to “re-open” for performance and speaker events and the steps we are taking to keep you safe. (Because we are a multi-purpose arts and culture venue, we follow several different sets of requirements and have already been open for our art exhibits under the state’s museum guidelines three afternoons a week since October.)
 
We certainly see light at the end of the tunnel, but in order to keep your confidence as well as safety in mind, we will proceed a bit slowly down our reopening path, even as Eastern Connecticut seems to be doing very well in our vaccine rates—yay us! 
 
Outside Concerts: We are presenting five monthly outdoor concerts from May to September, all from 6-7 p.m. The four Friday concerts will be held on the Stonington Commons Green adjacent to La Grua Center at 32 Water Street, and the Tuesday concert will be on Wadawanuck Square, adjacent to the Stonington Free Library. Rain dates for the Friday concerts will be the next day on Saturday (please note there is no rain date for the August concert).

  • Friday, May 21 (Latin Essence Jazz Group)
  • Friday, June 25 (U.S. Coast Guard Band Ensemble)
  • Friday, July 23 (Sea Chanteys with Revell Carr)
  • Tuesday, August 17 (Kids Concert with Bergin O’Malley) – Wadawanuck Square adjacent to the Stonington Free Library (no rain date)
  • Friday, September 24 (Epitome Jazz)
Tickets: The concerts are free, but you must register for tickets online on our website (not all events are posted yet). More details can be found on the website under each event listing about the protocols we will have in place, as well as in our event e-mails.
 
Music Matters Concerts: We will pivot back to our usual in-person concerts with limited seating starting in June, although some concerts may also be recorded at the same time for future broadcast on YouTube. Musicians will perform for us unmasked at a distance of 12’ from the nearest seats. Audience members must be masked throughout, and some social distancing protocols will be in place, as we continue to observe state guidelines and recommendations. All tickets must be purchased online, and your name will be on a list that will be checked off by staff as you enter the Great Room from the lobby.
 
Speakers: We will also pivot back to our usual in-person talks later this month with limited seating. Audience members must be masked throughout, and some social distancing protocols will be in place, as we continue to observe state guidelines and recommendations. We plan to still present occasional Zoom chats online depending on the speaker (sometimes we may be able to present panel discussions and interesting speakers, including those of a higher profile, when we don’t have to incur travel costs and their schedules might more easily allow an hour on Zoom). Further, we may slowly venture into livestreaming events, as we figure out the feasibility of both costs and quality, and some events may be livestreamed as well as recorded for later viewing on our YouTube channel.
 
Art Exhibitions: We will continue with the dedicated gallery hours first implemented in the Fall of 2020, with three afternoons each week (excepting some holidays): Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. Visitors must wear masks and observe suggested social distancing protocols, which are subject to change.
 
Ticketing: Going forward, at least in the near term, all events will be ticketed in advance, even if they are free. We need to have a better handle on capacity, as well as a means of tracking who is in the space in the event of future outbreaks. Please note that in order to allow time to set up seating, online ticket sales and registrations will end approximately one hour before the start of each event.
 
General Operations: Some additional differences in how we more safely operate will include a little more distancing between chairs (at least through the summer), a few open windows for better ventilation, and the availability of hand sanitizer in several spots. We will continue to open the house a half-hour prior to each event, and in an effort to avoid crowding, we ask that you find a seat and avoid gathering in the lobby.
 
Rentals: We are gradually working toward renting the space for other community organizations and their events, as well as private events such as weddings and celebrations. We will also begin holding fitness and wellness classes, pending the interest of the teachers who book the space.
 
Parking: We remind you that La Grua Center is the public space in the residential community at Stonington Commons, so parking around the green is only available to residents. The free lot at Stonington Commons at 32 Water Street is available to La Grua guests, and residents of Stonington Borough are encouraged to walk when feasible. Parking in Stonington Borough in the summer will continue to be a challenge, and the Stonington Borough Merchants Association offers additional tips that can be found here. We appreciate your help as we try to be good neighbors.
 
As ever, we pay close attention to what the state and federal public health officials are saying and are prepared to adjust any of the above as we go forward and conditions change. Our first priority is the safety of our audience, artists, speakers, staff, and volunteers, and we will be erring on the side of caution as we go along. We look forward to the day when we can again have a sell-out crowd with happy people comfortably sitting shoulder to shoulder without masks.
 
We deeply appreciate your support throughout the past year and hope to see many of you in person as we open up more this summer.

LaGruaCenter.org

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