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September 11, 2012

City grant helps fledgling arts school

By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star

---- — A school opening with help from the city of Oneonta next month is as much about creating jobs as it is about the fine arts.

CANO, Community Arts Network of Oneonta, has leased its carriage house off of Ford Avenue downtown to Carriage House Art Studio, a new business, Doug Hallberg said, he opened with Christy Parish and Tom O’Brien.

The project is supported by a $25,000 Microenterprise Grant from the city of Oneonta, Hallberg said. The five-year project is designed to generate jobs, he said, and the studio will be hiring art teachers.

Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller said the business is a different from other Microenterprise Grant projects, funded with state money, because it involves the fine arts, while other ventures focus on restaurants and retail. The project also helps meet a goal of developing Oneonta as an arts and entertainment center, he said.

``It’s an arts-related business downtown taking advantage of an empty space,’’ Miller said Monday. ``It’s terrific.’’

CANO, formerly known as the Upper Catskill Community Council on the Arts, is located in Wilber Mansion at 11 Ford Ave., and the carriage house, formerly used for art lessons, is behind the mansion.

The arts and crafts school will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. weekdays and all day Saturdays, with emphasis on small group and individualized instruction, a media release said. Hallberg, a long-time public school art teacher, said his stained glass business also will be located at the site.

Hallberg said the tentative opening is Oct. 6 and many area artists will be employed to teach a variety of classes.

Improvements, including replacing some windows and doors, will be made before the building is re-opened, he said.

Raina D’Amico, CANO board president, said upgrades are being made to the electrical service at the carriage house building. CANO will reserve use of its ``Fenner Art School’’ name for possible future programs and scholarships, she  said.

CANO members will be eligible for discounts to Carriage House Art Studio classes, the release said. And studio space and equipment, such as pottery wheels, may be rented on a short-term.

When UCCCA, predecessor of CANO, downsized in 2009, many of the classes in the Carriage House became unfunded, the release said.

 “CANO is delighted that they approached us to be the destination for this new business, serving the arts community and helping fulfill our mission to offer artists of all ages and experience levels an opportunity to share, grow and create,’’ D’Amico said in a prepared statement.

Local artist Charles Bremer coordinated efforts of the CANO board and representatives from CHAS to establish conditions that made a long-term lease possible, the release said.

Plans call for offering a range of visual art classes including ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, stained glass, sculpture, printmaking, basket-making, fiber arts, photography and electronic arts, the release said. Also, workshops in theater arts, including

improvisation and summer camps for kids and teens, will be offered.

Courses will be taught by area artists and art teachers, many with past experience at the Carriage House. Assisting will be student

interns and volunteers from Hartwick College and the State University College at Oneonta.

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