GALESBURG — Visitors can expect to see new floors and fresh paint in the Galesburg Community Art Center next week as the space reopens to the public on Friday, May 20.
Tuesday Cetin, executive director of the art center, said the opening reception will begin at 5 p.m. for members and 6 p.m. for the general public. The free event will present the art show “Bridges” by Dusty Scott and Stacy Lotz and include a cash bar.
The latest round of renovations inside the center include new flooring under the gift shop and first floor gallery, two finished artist studios on the second floor and a finished gallery on the second floor that will overflow with artwork into a freshly painted classroom space on the first floor.
Cetin said that people can expect a “temporary makeshift experience” this year as the center continues filling out what has amounted to an upgrade from 3,000-4,000 square-feet in its old location to 27,000 square-feet in its new home, the Odd Fellows Building, 349 E. Main St.
Cetin said that when the organization first accepted the building from Mark and Jeannette Kleine, the goal was to minimize the shut downs as much as possible. In a “Catch-22” situation, the director said the organization is using its space in the most efficient way possible to both maintain services and improvements.
“I think to continue that simultaneous programming and renovation, it takes an understanding on the public’s part that certainly we’re not 100%, that it’s not finished, not done, we’re barely started, we’ve scratched the surface,” Cetin said. “But we want to continue to serve our community.”
The center will continue with its regular programming in the new space as it did off-site after the center last closed Feb. 5. Cetin said the center will likely close again next February for another round of renovations.
Art center will celebrate 100th anniversary in 2023
Cetin said the center should be up and running in full force by the end of 2023, its centennial year. In that case, the building’s first floor will have a gift shop, a finished gallery, a coffee shop and a large classroom space that will be walled into separate areas, one including a kiln.
The second floor will house the children’s art camp, two artist studios that can be leased for short-term residencies, another gallery and the center’s offices.
The third floor will continue housing the Galesburg Historical Society, three gallery spaces for the center’s permanent collection, a ballroom that can house events and one more office that can be leased out.
The center’s old location, 114 E. Main St., only had a gallery space and a gift shop. When the center held art classes, the gift shop space was transitioned into a classroom space.
The new space will allow the center to provide new programming like culinary and ceramics classes, as well as more studio classes, artist meet-ups, open studios, live-arts programming and special events.
“It was a lot of set it up, tear it down, shift it over, move it over, do this, do that,” Cetin said about the old location. “Here, we’re able to actually do studio classes and get messy and feel inspired because we’re not worried about ruining someone else’s work.”
So far, the center has not bid out any official construction but has relied on the help of local artisans and volunteers to get the space up and ready.
Interior renovations will cost $1.5 to $2 million
Cetin estimated that the total renovations to the center’s interior will cost $1.5-2 million and there is additional work that should be done to touch up the building’s facade. Construction of the center’s main gallery on the first floor, which is about 50% finished, has been stalled for the moment given the high price of plywood.
The organization and its staff of “1.5” employees has been allocated $2 million from the state of Illinois, but Cetin said the GCAC has not received the grant money yet and it is unsure when it will.
Cetin said that it is still going to take more time, money, and partnerships for the non-profit to completely build out the space into its masterplan.
“We’re not building the plane as we fly it, but somewhat, to figure out what works, what doesn’t in the space and how can we best do things more efficiently,” Cetin said. “And of course still our community like we have always done.”