Nov. 2 will be a day of celebration for the Hamburg Area Arts Alliance and Our Town Foundation, Hamburg’s non-profit community revitalization corporation. Their move into a new location, a place they can call their own, is completed and a grand opening is planned.
The Foundation purchased the former Dietrich’s Men’s Shop located at 320 State Street on June 28. The move was almost literally across the street from their former location; however, the move marks a big step for the foundation and its members.
“We were looking for a property for a few years because it is financially the right thing to do. After paying rent for seventeen years, we are now paying a mortgage,” said Deena Kershner, Director of the foundation.
Volunteers spent the last four months sprucing up the property to create a vibrant gallery.
“Our member artists have really stepped up to the plate and are showing ownership in the new building. They are so energized and excited to be able to showcase their work in a brand new environment that is very bright and pleasing to the eye. Sales should increase for all the artists in our new location,” said Kershner.
During the grand opening, several artists will be on-site providing an opportunity for guests to personally meet the creators of the beautiful pieces on display. There are several types of 2D and 3D art displayed by over 30 artisans including pottery, woodturnings, ceramics, jewelry, fabric art, fused glass, forged metals, woven baskets, photography, oil and acrylic paintings, and more.
“With the wide variety of local handmade art available for sale, and I am hoping people shop locally for the holidays to support their local artists,” said Kershner.
Other activities during the day include raffles, wine tastings by King Cole Winery and other refreshments.
Lazy Dog Vintage Market, another downtown Hamburg business which only opened a year ago and quickly outgrew their space has moved their business into the Our Town Foundation’s former location at 335 State Street.
Their one year anniversary and re-grand opening celebration will fall on the same day, Nov. 2. The owners are planning a big celebration as well with music, door prizes, food, and beverages from Hamburg’s own 1787 Brewing Company and Bouchette Winery.
Festivities will take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Gallery and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lazy Dog.
For additional information on Downtown Hamburg, The Hamburg Area Arts Alliance, and the Art and Craft Gallery of Hamburg, call 610-562-3106 or visit www.hamburgpa.org.
Purchasing a property was a long journey for OTF, a force behind the revitalization of Hamburg for almost two decades. It was difficult trying to find that perfect property that could fill their needs. It needed to be located in the downtown business district and large enough to house the offices of the foundation as well as the Art and Craft Gallery of Hamburg.
The Gallery is managed by the Hamburg Area Arts Alliance which was formed in 2006 by Our Town Foundation and remains a subsidiary of the organization. Artwork is displayed and sold by more than 35 local artists.
The selling space and offices are about the same square footage as their previous location, but the layout is different, featuring a rectangular store front which houses the gallery with the offices in the rear.
The building is a contributing property for the downtown’s national historic district designation. The art deco façade is covered in vitrolite glass panels which were popular during the 1920 – 1930 time period. Inside, patrons will find wooden floors, vintage trim work, and decorative tin ceilings in the office area.
Deeds have been found that show a house was built on that lot at 320 State Street in 1856. It changed hands several times before the Empire restaurant was established in the front part of the building around 1905. Movies were shown in the rear portion for a while, until about 1922. The Empire Restaurant kept going until around 1930.
In 1932 the local American Legion post bought the property and did extensive renovations, including adding a canteen in the basement. The American Legion moved to the first block of S. 4th after WWII, and that is when 320 State Street was bought by Warren Dietrich to open a clothing store.
This is the 3rd property the foundation has purchased. The first was the Hamburg Strand Movie Theater, purchased in 2013 to save it from its demise. In 2015 they purchased the State Street Square, a one-acre grass lot located within the downtown business district, with a goal of creating a downtown community park and entertainment and activity area.