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Hutchins Street Square: The heart of Lodi's cultural community

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Posted: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 12:00 am

Hutchins Street Square is the heart of community in Lodi. Previously the location for the original Lodi High School, Hutchins Street Square is now a center for musical and theater performances, community events, art shows, the Sandhill Crane Festival and senior activities.

The purpose of Hutchins Street Square is to provide services and programs that enhance the health and well being, social vitality and cultural vibrancy of the community. Deanie Bridewell, arts and events manager for the City of Lodi, says this mission is accomplished daily through art, dances and music classes and more.

"Hutchins Street Square is Lodi's jewel where memories are created at wedding receptions, proms, quinceaneras and graduations. How fortunate we are to have such an amazing facility in the center of our city," she said.

The largest venue within Hutchins Street Square is the Charlene Lange Powers Performing Arts Theater that seats 789 people. The Square also includes Kirst Hall, Crete Hall, Thomas Theatre Gallery, Wishek Amphitheater and art classrooms.

From performances by Lodi bands to Broadway shows, Hutchins Street Square offers entertainment that reels in locals and out-of-town guests. Past performances include "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat," "In the Mood" and the political "Capitol Steps."

One of the largest events held at the Square is the concert event, Rock the Square. In past years, the fundraiser has brought Credence Clearwater Revival and Kenny Loggins to the Square's west lawn. Those attending see the well-known bands in an intimate setting while the surrounding community can listen to the radiating sounds from their front porches.

Hutchins Street Square is also a center for Lodi arts. The Thomas Theater within the Square is one of the most popular art gallery destinations during Lodi's First Friday Art Hop, which regularly features a new local artist.

One of the biggest art events in Lodi, June's Art on the Square, is always held on the lawns of Hutchins Street Square. It kicks off with a 5K event in the morning to benefit the arts. Throughout the day, there are live musical events, art demonstrations and dozens of artists' booths where you can browse art or be inspired to create your own.

The Senior Center at the Square is a popular community program that offers daily activities and classes for seniors with varied interests. Classes range from peer counseling and support groups too legal services and computer classes. Seniors can also join in social activities, including weekly pinochle, chess and knitting.

Whether a senior or community member, the pool located inside Hutchins Street Square is popular for those wanting to fit in lap swimming or get conditioned with an arthritis water class or cardio challenge class, among others.

Hutchins Street Square at a glance

Location: 125 S. Hutchins Street.
General contact: 333-6782.
Box office hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday from 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
To purchase tickets at the box office: 333-5500.
Senior center: 369-6921.
Camp Hutchins: 334-2267.
To book a room for your event: 333-6800, ext. 2458.

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