Springstep, a non-profit dance and performing arts center in Medford, plans to sell its building on George P. Hassett Drive and discontinue offering classes of its own by the end of the year, according to a letter from its founder.
Deborah Hawkins, the founder of the organization, sent letters to its members, students and members of the community Friday afternoon. In one letter, Hawkins attributed the closing to a decline in funding.
"The lack of arts funding has hit everyone hard. In response to a decline in contributions, Springstep boosted its earned revenue from special events, grew class enrollment, and tweaked our staffing model," Hawkins wrote. "...After great consideration and analysis, the board voted to hire a well-known real estate agent to market and sell the Springstep facility."
The last session of classes operated by Springstep will end in December 2012, according to one letter sent to students. The facility will continue to be available for private instructors to rent and offer classes, the letter said.
The 16,000 square-foot building was listed for sale in the beginning of 2012 on Loopnet.com with an asking price of $4.65 million, but the listing was pulled by late March. At that time, it wasn't clear whether Springstep intended to remain in the building as a tenant.
According to its website, Springstep was established as a non-profit organization in 2000 by Hawkins, a supporter of folk and social dance. It aims to provide a "permanent home for these interconnected and culturally important art forms."
In the letter to Springstep members and students, Hawkins thanked them for their patronage.
"For ten years, Springstep has served as a community center that has provided a home for many social dance groups, offered a diverse range of classes from Ballet to Bollywood, and served as a unique venue for events ranging from three-day dance festivals to weddings," Hawkins wrote. "We have enjoyed the joyful sounds, the vivid colors, and the buzz of excitement that have enlivened our studios and hallways. While the song may change, we must continue to dance. We hope that you will, too."