Perry Mansion: Cultural center grows from the ashes

One by one, local artists stepped onto a small stage in a spacious Englewood living room and crooned about lovers, belted out ballads about their children and lamented about a family member in jail.

The audience, seated on folding chairs and surrounded by artwork, chimed in with accolades: "That's right!" and "You know that's true!"

That kind of support for artists is exactly what Sam Smith envisioned when he opened the nonprofit Perry Mansion Cultural Center last fall in a Queen Anne-style home in one of the city's most crime-ridden and impoverished neighborhoods.

He also wants to hold Sunday jazz brunches and youth arts programs in an area where drugs and gangs are the norm.

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