The Buttonwood Tree operates under the 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization of North End Arts Rising, Inc. (NEAR, Inc.). From its opening in 1989, The Buttonwood Tree has been a grassroots, avant garde center for all ages, all comers, artists and audiences. Recognized nationally and internationally as a music venue (see Kunle Mwanga), it has also offered programs led by outstanding artists in contemporary theater, literature, art, poetry and dance—from belly to hip hop—as well as opening its doors to community activists, educational and religious groups.
The Mission of NEAR Inc. is to:
Support the creative activities and endeavors of artists and potential artists
Create a forum, context, and space for artistic, cultural, creative, and educational experience in Middletown
Serve as a center for community activity in Middletown’s North End.
NEAR Inc.’s goals are:
- To provide support to local artists, amateurs, students and others interested in exploring their capacity for self-expression and communication by offering them a facility, institutional support, funding, workshops, performance/exhibit opportunities and other artistic support.
- To provide artistic and other cultural experiences and programs that are accessible, participatory and unique, and to provide these experiences for audiences in the North End, Middletown, and Central Connecticut and beyond.
- To serve residents of the North End of Middletown by offering cultural programs, stimulating interaction and community, enhancing commerce and creating a community/cultural drop-in center.
- To carry on such other related artistic, cultural, creative, or educational activities as may be necessary or appropriate in connection therewith.