Art center may get $80G in state funds

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
March 25, 2008

GUILFORD — The Guilford Art Center could soon be getting help with funding for a project that would increase the number of classes the center is able to offer.

The state Bond Commission is expected to pass $80,000 in state funding to enclose a space the art center uses for stone cutting and blacksmith classes, Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s office announced.

The commission is scheduled to meet Friday.

Jean Perkins, director of the 51-year-old art center, said the money would go toward enclosing the facility’s pole barn, which covers the sculpture and blacksmith area.

The project would add sliding doors to the currently wall-less structure, which consists of a roof set on poles.

“Not many people have the space to teach blacksmithing,” Perkins said. “It’s certainly open to the elements, so what this grant is for is for enclosing it and the idea being that once it’s enclosed, we’ll be able to offer classes year-round.”

Perkins said the funding came about after state Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, visited the center last summer.

He asked Perkins to send him a description of needed capital improvements, which she did in September.

The hope is for the $80,000 to cover the entire cost of the project, although Perkins said she may have to check prices again, since the request was made more than six months ago.

She added that she is not sure when work could begin on the barn, but it could be this fall.

“We are so wildly excited and grateful and appreciative — this is just amazing,” she said.

The art center’s shop, which offers handmade items by American artists, reopened this month at the center’s main location at 411 Church St.

The shop had moved to a storefront on the Green for the holiday season, and then underwent a redesign of the Church Street space.

“We decided to really redo the shop and we have many, many new artists in the shop now and the shop is a whole different shopping experience,” Perkins said.

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