Creative Haverhill Completes Purchase of Former Cogswell School for Art Space

The George F. Cogswell School was built in 1891. It is located at 351 S. Main St.

Creative Haverhill is the official owner of the former George F. Cogswell School in Bradford.

The nonprofit group closed on the property at 351 S. Main St. earlier this month. As WHAV reported in April, Creative Haverhill Project Manager Erin Padilla told city councilors the organization was ready to buy the 1891 school for $175,000. The price represents $160,000 the organization agreed to pay in 2015 plus $15,000 in so-called “ticking fees” for the years in between.

“Creative Haverhill’s Capital Campaign to Reinvent Cogswell has been a five-year effort to raise the $2.5 million needed to purchase and renovate the old Cogswell school and turn it into a Community Art Space, and the official purchase of the building is a huge milestone for the campaign!” a press release issued yesterday reports. “Once completed the Cogswell ArtSpace will be a fully functioning non-profit community arts space for Greater Haverhill. This means that all of the income provided by our programs will go right back into funding the programs that we plan to offer, that scholarships will be available for our programs, that donations will continue to be tax-deductible, and that the community will have a central ‘hub’ for partnerships and for the arts in Haverhill,” the statement added.

During the three-year lease-to-purchase agreement with the city of Haverhill, Creative Haverhill began fixing the building with, among other repairs, roofing renovations and installation of a new fire suppression system, ensuring the building recovered from pipes bursting in 2017.

“While the plans for programming within the space aren’t completely set in stone,” the statements adds, “we hope that the building will host a juried exhibition space along with community rental rooms, art rooms for adult art classes, arts/STEAM after school clubs, youth vacation camps, artist studio rental rooms, ceramics studios, a printmaking studio, and a wood shop/makers space.”

Along with purchasing the building, the capital campaign recently received the second payment of a $200,000 grant from a private foundation outside the Merrimack Valley. Half of this money is being used to match a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant of $200,000. The group says it will continue to fundraise to match the remaining $100,000 state Cultural Facilities Grant matching requirement. More information about donating can be found at

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