Hamilton Center for the Arts

Although it gathered national attention in 2012 when Forbes named it one of “America’s Friendliest Cities,” thinking of Hamilton, New York, might not immediately bring to mind images of a bustling arts scene.

But the Hamilton Center for the Arts — which recently celebrated its grand reopening — is working to change that perception, offering a variety of unique arts and entertainment activities, events and classes.

Just down the road from Colgate University, the HCA, as it's called, fosters a surprising niche of culture and art.

The Center regularly offers classes in art, music and dance, while also hosting art exhibits and musical performances. It also holds free events in the community.

“The Hamilton Center for the Arts is dedicated to providing to all our community-children, teens, and adults-art enrichment through classes, programs, performances and exhibits,” the Center's mission statement reads. “Through the expression of diverse thoughts, ideas and beliefs, we may grow to better understand ourselves and each other.”

This spring, the Center will be offering classes in Nuno Felting, Creative Writing (short story and poetry), quilting and more. One thing to keep an eye out for are the ever-popular “paint and sip” classes, which the HCA calls “Glass & Brush Sessions.” The session dates are currently to be decided, but you bring the wine and spend a class learning what you can do.

Teen Classes on the docket are Creative Writing, Portfolio Development, Drawing, Digitizing and Developing and Art Appreciation.

There is also a Multi-Arts Program for children and a Pre-K Art.

HCA Director Kathy Herold says she feels very “strongly about offering pay-what-you-can classes to children” and that networking is one of her strongest skills, allowing her “through the years to meet many people,” giving her “quite a few names to draw from to teach.”

Furthering the effort to integrate the community and college, the HCA partners with Colgate University to provide a teen support group with the purpose of “Self Esteem Through the Making.” The gallery also uses university student interns to staff the gallery and maintain the website.

The center first opened its doors in June 2008, according to officials. To fill a need, it opened a fine arts cooperative, the Broad Street Gallery, in December 2011.

The Broad Street Gallery allows for a professional and affordable venue for local artists to sell and exhibit their work. The space is home to all types of art, including paintings, ceramics, jewelry and photography, and is run but members and interns from Colgate University. Artist participation is on a consignment basis.

After a brief stint at a different location, the HCA very recently took advantage of an opportunity to move back to Broad Street, connecting the Center with the Broad Street Gallery.

The grand reopening of the center on April 8 featured new exhibits, a juried show of 13 artists, live music, refreshments, and a Colgate University Show.

If you are interested in taking or teaching a class at the HCA, be sure to check out their website, hamiltoncenterforthearts.com