Local dignitaries including county and town officials last week joined with the GARNER Arts Center (formerly GAGA) and leaders from First Niagara to announce restoration efforts to reopen the Center and its Main Gallery. First Niagara Foundation presented GARNER with a $6,000 donation to launch the Gallery Restoration campaign. The Arts Center was temporarily closed two years ago following Hurricane Irene which caused floodwaters from the Minisceongo Creek to sweep through the 375,000-square-foot facility, a home for artists, artisans and small business owners. The main gallery building of the GARNER Arts Center was the most affected by the flooding. After months of rebuilding infrastructure, and with support from First Niagara, GARNER Arts Center can begin the early stages of restoring building 35, the new Main Gallery.
“We are pleased and so very grateful that First Niagara has recognized the value to the community of GARNER Arts Center’s arts, education and cultural programs and the urgent need to re-establish GARNER’s gallery after the devastating loss of its Main Gallery during Hurricane Irene,” said Robin Rosenberg, president of GARNER Arts Center. “First Niagara’s generous donation allows us to begin restoration efforts on GARNER’s new gallery, Building 35, the former mill’s cafeteria building. First Niagara’s donation embodies the message of art, preservation and commerce working together for the betterment of the community,” she added.
“We believe in the cultural value that the GARNER Arts Center brings to the community,” said Cathie Schaffer, tri-state regional president of First Niagara. “By funding the launch of this important restoration campaign, we hope that the Center’s projected reopening for spring of 2014 will become a reality and that the community can enjoy this space once again.”
In addition to the announcement of First Niagara’s donation, the Preservation League of New York State announced that the New York State Historic Preservation Office has listed the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center, home of the GARNER Arts Center, on the State Register of Historic Places and forwarded the nomination to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D. C. for National Register approval. The State Historic Register Nomination was partially underwritten by the Preserve New York Grant Program of the Preservation League of New York State, which is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The Nomination recounts fascinating details about the importance of the Garnerville mill locally, nationally and internationally. The new proposed program for GARNER Arts Center will bring back the popular annual Arts Festival, in addition to exhibitions in visual art, new media, dance, music, theatre, performance art, live art-in-progress, dynamic installations, educational and mentoring programs. Contemporary exhibitions will introduce the work of artists from different generations and cultures from master artists to unknown and under-recognized figures whose work has thought-provoking relevance today.