LEWISTON — Leaders of the nonprofit performing arts venue at the former St. Mary’s Church on Cedar Street agreed Wednesday to restore its former name as the Franco Center.

The board of directors also agreed to begin using seven new logos with slightly different colors and designs in materials produced for the center. It gave the center’s staff a greenlight to use whichever one seemed most appropriate for any given need.

This is one of seven new and similar logos the Franco Center’s board approved Wednesday. Submitted image

Officials hope the move will cool the criticism that has raged in recent weeks over a controversial name change that sparked enough attention to even draw criticism from France’s consul general in Boston.

Rita Dube, one of the leading critics, said she was “thrilled to see that they will give the center back its name.”

Dube said it was “a battle well fought,” though doesn’t see why a logo change was required.

Angling to put the center into development plans eyed for the area along the Androscoggin River, a divided board a few months ago renamed the Franco Center as “Riverfront Performing Arts and Events, Founded by Franco-Americans.”

A slow-burning fire ensued that exploded in recent weeks into a full-scale firestorm as opponents of the move decried it as a supposed shift away from the Franco American heritage of the performing arts center created more than two decades ago.

Former mayors and other leaders in the Franco community in Maine pushed to restore the center’s name. They argued that moving away from the name was a slap in the face to the people whose donations built the church long ago and created the nonprofit after the church’s closure a quarter century ago.

Efforts to convince critics that a change would help position the center for future growth fell flat.

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