Art on Center to house art classes, gallery space, and performances in Jim Thorpe
A new arts studio and classroom space will be the first of its kind in Carbon County. The goal is to bring local creatives together and offer a space for cultivation.
Nancy Berchtold is one of three visionaries behind The Art on Center. She retired and moved to Carbon County after 33 years as an art teacher in Bucks County.
“When we bought our house in 2008, I was surprised that the town was an artsy town,” she said. “I was surprised that there was no community center, and in particular, for the arts.”
She partnered with Mary DiGioia Bogin, also a retired art teacher, and Helen Hartmann, who worked on creative projects for the New York City Transit System.
“There are wonderful, very talented artists around the town but most of them have their own gallery and they sell out of their own space,” Hartmann said. “There wasn’t a place to gather, and for people who maybe aren’t into sports, because this is a sports oriented area.”
From left: Helen Hartmann, Nancy Berchtold, and Mary Digioia Bogin.
The trio found a space for rent in the former Jim Thorpe School District Administration Building, which was originally the Jim Thorpe Intermediate School. It will serve as a gathering place to provide opportunities for exposure and education.
“We teach classes to children and adults, private lessons... I’m multimedia,” she said. “Pen and ink, watercolor, oil, acrylic.”
The ladies were excited to share that they just acquired their first pottery wheel. Bogin and Hartmann, who have about 50 years of combined experience in arts education, will be instructors.
Visual artists can rent a four-foot linear space for $20 to exhibit and sell their work. Stained-glass, photo prints, paintings, handmade jewelry and more are currently on display in the classrooms and hallways.
Hartmann says they have plans to bring in more talent and expand programming.
“Writing, journalism, theater, we have a really great space that is perfect for having shows, a full stage,” she said.
The Art on Center encompasses several rooms in the old school, including the gymnasium, or the ‘cafe-gym-atorium,’ as many call it. It’s easy to imagine a large audience for potential performances, professional or amateur.
“We’ve had a couple of folks who have worked in New York and are interested in children’s theater and adult theater,” Berchtold said. “We just recently heard from a potter, so we did a clay class a couple weeks ago.”
The organization has been funded by donors and volunteer-run since the center opened six months ago, as the leaders work to establish nonprofit status.
The Art on Center, 410 Center Avenue in Jim Thorpe, hosts an open house every Saturday. Berthold says the building is open to the public during the week.
To find out more, call (570) 325-3726 or email email@example.com.