From yesterday to today to tomorrow
In 1917. Dr. Leslie Pinckney Hill, President of Cheyney State Teacher’s College (presently, Cheyney University), envisioned a community-based institution that would help address the unmet needs of citizens who were traditionally marginalized by and disenfranchised from society based on their economic status, gender, or race. The guiding principle of Dr. Hill’s visionary idea was to foster and promote a greater understanding among and cooperation between all citizens through education. On August 2, 1918, Dr. Hill’s vision became a reality with the official adoption of the West Chester Community Center’s articles of incorporation Center. In 1934, the “Center Committee” broke ground in the heart of the Borough of West Chester. A brand new building was constructed at 501 E. Miner Street.
The Charles A Melton Arts & Education Center is dedicated to providing the greater West Chester area with a wide variety of low-cost or free programs ranging from the educational (New Directions) to the ever–popular summer basketball league and summer STEAM camp. The Center is widely used by the community as a rental space for family gatherings, sporting and community events; after-school program for elementary and middle-school aged youth; currently the home for two church programs from two different denominations; summer basketball league for youth in Chester County; distributes scholarships to West Chester Area School District graduating seniors; and voting poll center. The Melton Center is also dedicated to hosting community events, recovery meetings, a culinary school for underserved youth and many events and activities that focus on the target population of the least, the last, the left out and the left behind.
The Mission of the historic Charles A Melton Arts and Education Center is to contribute to the quality of life for all people of the greater West Chester community by continuing its long commitment to providing educational, recreational, cultural and civic services.
The Melton Center’s vision is of a just and equitable community in which all citizens, regardless of race or economic status, can flourish physically, mentally, and socially. The Melton Center offers comprehensive and collaborative programs to achieve this vision with an emphasis on the “cura personalis” – care of the whole person; “cura familia tota” – care of the whole family; and “cura onmis civitas” – care of the whole community.
Our guiding principle was, is, and always will be the same – promote understanding and cooperation between all people. The Melton Center is the center for personal, professional, cultural, and spiritual growth for the entire community. Ownership and pride have been the fuel that has kept the fire burning at “The Center” for decades. Our work now has the goal of instilling those values into a new generation.