EATON — Soon, the Preble County Art Association will be moving to 207 E. Main St. (the Stotler building) in downtown Eaton, after two years of planning and hard work.
The decision to move came after careful consideration of current and future programming and how the PCAA can best serve the community.
“Having almost twice as much space as our current facility, the new location will increase the program capacity and allow the PCAA to expand programming to new mediums and grow audiences and participants,” Executive Director Vicky Fanberg said in a press release. “The move doubles the center’s square footage, heightens visibility and allows for dedicated space for the gallery, specialized art studios, a sales gallery and more. The new location includes a parking lot located at 204 E. Main St. in addition to ample street parking.”
According to Fanberg, the parking lot was gifted by Home is the Foundation and was a determining factor in perusing a downtown location.
Construction on the new Preble Arts facility began in February and focused on accessibility and access.
“While the building, built in 1896, has great bones and a lot of character, there were many upgrades to meet current day building codes,” Fanberg said. “The space includes a re-worked staircase to gain access to the second floor along with an elevator that will be installed this fall. Additional items include a fire suppression system, HVAC, and updated plumbing and electrical systems. Most of the original woodwork and flooring was kept intact to keep the historic charm and elegant ambiance.”
“Construction is almost complete but a few more dollars are needed,” she noted. “Because of the age of the building some surprises literally were dug up and added to the budget. These included a buried cistern and a challenge to resolve storm and sewer drainage. Additionally, to fully commit to insuring maximum accessibility, reworking the front concrete sidewalk for easy entry to the building will be completed.
“The project has been greatly supported by many community partners including the Timken Foundation of Canton, Mary Bullen & Polly Kronenberger, the State of Ohio, Henny Penny, Vectren Foundation, Hampden E. and Erma R. Catterton Fund of the Dayton Foundation, Brooke Gould Charitable Trust, Cargill Cares, US Bank Foundation, Parker Hannifin, Somerville Bank, Beoddy Oil, Simon Insurance, RDA Group Architects, Muha Construction, Opti-vise IT, Skyline Chili, and many other individual donors.
“We invite you to join these donors in their commitment to the project and help see it to completion,” Fanberg added. “You can donate through our web site at www.preblearts.org or contact the PCAA at 937-456-3999 or mail checks to 601 Hillcrest Dr., Eaton, OH 45320.
According to Fanberg, the PCAA prefers not to continue operations at the Hillcrest Drive facility after the move; however, the property has a complicated arrangement which may influence this decision.
“The building opened in 1990 through the hard work and fundraising of the Preble County Art Association volunteer board of trustees,” Fanberg explained. “The founding board raised money and in-kind contributions to build a facility to house the arts in Preble County. They were able to secure the land through a 100-year land lease with the County Commissioners. This makes for an unusual situation for both the PCAA and the County Commissioners. The lease does indicate that the land must be used consistent with the PCAA Articles of Incorporation and if abandoned would revert to the ownership of the commissioners.
“According to the 1990 document, the seated commissioners outlined the lease in this way because the PCAA was a new nonprofit and it was uncertain if the organization would last more than a few years,” the release noted.
It continued: “In 2017, the PCAA approached the county commissioners independently to make them aware of the desire to move and work out an arrangement for the Hillcrest property. In the spring of 2018 the commissioners asked the PCAA to have the building appraised for consideration to sell the building to the commissioners. The building, without the land, appraised for $268,000. Since then, the commissioners have stated they have no use for the building but opened the conversation to other possibilities. The PCAA has since requested the commissioners to sell the land to the PCAA, a process that is still in discussion but has its own complexity. The PCAA is awaiting directions for the next step from the commissioners by Wednesday, June 12. If the commissioners decide not to work out any agreements, or if the process continues to be delayed, the PCAA will plan to use Hillcrest Drive for additional cultural programming.”
The new Preble Arts facility will celebrate its grand opening for the community on Friday, July 19, in conjunction with the LCNB Arts Night Out, a growing celebration of the arts that includes an art show, live music, food trucks, art activities and more.
“The PCAA is excited to host Dan Robertson as the first solo exhibit in the new facility,” Fanberg noted. “In addition, the Arts Night Out will feature the brand-new sales gallery representing regional artists, artists demonstrations, free and paid art activities, the paint your own pottery studio and a new art menu full of make and take art projects.
For more information about the move, Arts Night Out and all other PCAA endeavors, visit www.preblearts.org or calling 937-456-3999.