Yates County Arts Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Relocation

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It’s amazing how quickly 10 years have passed.

While it sometimes seems like yesterday — and sometimes it seems forever — June 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of the Yates County Arts Center on Penn Yan’s Main Street.

The group purchased the vacant Maxwell Building in 2010 and, after an extensive renovation, opened the doors of the Frick Gallery and began offering classes at Rosenfield Studios in June 2012.

“One of the most interesting things about opening on Main Street,” said Kris Pearson, executive director of the arts center, “how many people came in and said, ‘It’s time to build an arts center in Penn Yan.’ Frustrated by all the volunteers who built the Arts Center on East Elm Street.”

The Art Center organization is actually 46 years old this year.

Originally known as the Yates County Arts Council, the center was established in 1976 and registered as a non-profit corporation in 1984. Its purpose is (and is) to enrich the lives of Yates County residents and visitors by providing opportunities for active participation in the arts.

Prior to Main Street’s relocation, the group leased space across the county, including a brief stop at Oliver House and a longer stop at Masonic Temple on East Elm Street, Penn Yan, operating under various names, including “Bending Lake Gallery” which was later simply called “gallery”. The dream has always been to build a place on the street for exhibitions, workshops, events and outreach, but for a small, rural, volunteer-driven nonprofit arts organization, it’s a big deal dream.

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