Grand opening at arts center a ‘smashing success’
“It was a huge, gigantic, smashing success,” said Executive Director Lisa Randall. She added that Sen. Jack Reed and state Rep. Deb Ruggiero were on hand and addressed the crowd.
The event was a culmination of years of work and nearly $800,000 from fundraising that has turned an old boat-repair shop into the center that opened its doors officially on July 3.
“It’s not just about the money,” said Ken Newman, a Jamestown Arts Center board member. “In order for a place like this to succeed, you need community support. And in Jamestown, there are so many great artists and people interested in art that we have that support.”
The event included 11 artists, mostly from Jamestown, all who adhered to the “Big” theme. Dozens of large pieces currently hang in the arts center’s gallery – just one of the rooms in the newly renovated building on Valley Street – each for sale. The center will receive 40 percent of the proceeds from any artwork that is sold, money which will all go back into the arts center to keep it alive and well.
What makes the center’s gallery so unique is the size of it, according to Newman and President Kate Petrie, who is also a cofounder of the arts center.
“It’s one of the biggest galleries in the state,” Newman said, “even bigger than the one that they have at Brown [University].”
“The 18-foot doors are great,” said Petrie, referring to the garage doors that were initially built to house yachts. “They allow us to bring in work that wouldn’t fit in other galleries.”
Because of the size of the gallery, the arts center has rented out the spot to other organizations for events. Yoga has already taken place in the gallery. On Friday, July 29, WRNI has a live interview scheduled at the center with Dr. Louis Mariorenzi, the Jamestown resident who reached the summit of Mount Everest last month.
For the Summer Soiree, almost all of the materials, food and help were from volunteers and donations, according to Newman.
“Except the bartenders and a few bottles of liquor, it was basically all donations and volunteers,” he said. Newman’s girlfriend, who is a food writer for the New York Times, prepared the hors d’oeuvres. Randall and Petrie’s daughters helped serve the appetizers. Nick Digiando, the owner of Atlantic Lawn & Garden, organized the outside leading up to the event.
“For three days Nick and his team were outside helping fix the grass and didn’t ask for anything,” Petrie said.
Petrie added that the center would have never come to fruition without the help of Estes/Twombley Architects. “They were amazing to us,” she said.
Also currently in the works, the arts center is offering 15 different classes taught by 11 different instructors for the summer. Already, Randall said, they have had 100 kids register, but they are looking for more. “There are plenty of spots open for all different types of programs that we are offering,” Randall said. “Most of them start on July 18 so there’s still time.”
To learn more about the program, visit jamestownartscenter.com or call 222-0105.
“It’s a great place to come and find friends and meet people,” said Randall. “There is great flexibility here.”