Brentwood Art Center (Photo by Ashley Archibald)
Brentwood Art Center (Photo by Ashley Archibald)

NOMA — An art school on the verge of closure just a month ago opened its doors Monday for a successful first day of class, according to a member of its board.

The Brentwood Art Center almost folded in August when its owner of seven years, Sarkis Melkonian, sent out an e-mail to teachers, staff and students that the school’s finances necessitated a closure.

A group of community members rallied to save the center, forming a nonprofit and working with Melkonian and the founders of the school — Linda and Ed Buttwinick — to facilitate a seamless transfer of ownership.

It worked, said Donald Burris, a local attorney whose wife has taught classes at the school for decades. He’s now the vice chairman of community outreach for the nonprofit Friends of the Brentwood Art Center.

Despite the closure scare, most of the teachers and students have returned to the school for the first day of class, which took place Oct. 1.

“We own the Brentwood Art Center, and we’re running it as a not-for-profit,” Burris said. “We have plans for programs, joint ventures … and a lot of classes.”

Burris and other board members hope to engage the center with the rest of the community by working with local schools, offering scholarships and partnering with other cultural institutions in town like Bergamot Station, one of the largest concentrations of art galleries in the country.

Space is open, and people can still join classes, Burris said.

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