The arts may be alive year round in Quakertown soon, if the Katie Stauffer Memorial Arts and Cultural Center has anything to say about it.After Ava's Glass Gallery and the Broad Street Gallery recently left their Broad Street storefronts in downtown Quakertown, it wasn't looking good for the arts along the borough's main drag. But then, by pure chance, the Stauffer Center had the opportunity to begin the move into a space that they had been eyeing up since the center's creation.

"When we first thought about the art center we were thinking it was the perfect place," said President and Founder Linda Stauffer about Quakertown Drugstore

But back when the center was founded it just wasn't a possibility. Now with the center growing and the storefront open, opportunity just knocked.

"Our classes were just getting too large for the art center, we definitely had some limitations on space," said Jamie Roman Executive Director for the center.

And the center plans on bringing a well-rounded art experience to the community.

"Day classes, evening classes, First Friday, special needs, weekend workshops, one day workshops," said Stauffer rattling off a list of the various ways members of the community - young and old - can get involved.

And of all the ideas, many of which are running smoothly at the center's current facility, the First Friday program may be the most ambitious. Working from the national program to bring out the arts in communities on one night each month, Stauffer hopes to present the idea to the people of Upper Bucks County and see how far the center can take it.

"We are thrilled because we feel that it is going to open up a whole new venue," said Quakertown Alive's Main Street Manager Naomi Naylor, who added that bringing people to Quakertown on the nights and weekends will be a great boost for the community.

"They'll need to eat and get supplies too," said Stauffer, who hopes that the center will help other businesses as well.

And while Naylor said the First Friday idea is great and would like to see it grow and spread across the downtown, the initial push will need to come from the center itself, and only then can the downtown begin thinking about a full on program.

But even the officials at the center aren't putting all their eggs in the First Friday basket just yet, as there is plenty of work to be done with every other facet of the organization.

The center will hold its premiere First Friday event on June 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at their new 225 W Broad Street facility. The event will be held each month and will be free. The community is invited.

The grand opening will be on June 24, Katie Stauffer's birthday, at 11:00 a.m.

For more information on the center, its programs and more, please visit www.katiestauffer.org.

"Every community needs an art outlet for kids and adults," said Roman, who hopes that the center can fill that need in Quakertown.

David P. Anderson is the editor of The Free Press. He can be reached at dpanderson@berksmontnews.com.

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