Art Center recognized at Bluegrass Trust Preservation Awards

Published 3:45 pm Monday, June 3, 2024

The Art Center of the Bluegrass was recognized on May 19 at the Bluegrass Trust Preservation Awards for preserving a historic building on the Art Center campus in downtown Danville, Kentucky.

Held at the Dr. Thomas Hunt Morgan House in Lexington, the Art Center received the Clyde Carpenter Adaptive Reuse Award for renovations at 409 W. Main Street.

Built by John G. Weisiger sometime between 1901 and 1907, the building originally had two store rooms on the first floor, the second floor was divided into flats, and the third floor was a hall used by the Central Lodge No. 8 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

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Purchased by the Art Center in February 2023, the city of Danville then purchased the building from the Art Center in a show of support for the preservation project. The first floor now includes the Art Studio and Art Lab, Murrini Cafe, and Fern Curated Gifts. The second floor is home to artist studios, a culinary classroom, and a commercial kitchen.

The Art Center is also housed in a historic federal building located at 401 West Main Street, which now features the GLASS National Art Museum, preserving the legacy of Danville’s internationally known glass artist Stephen Rolfe Powell.

“Adaptively reusing these two architecturally significant and historic buildings located on West Main Street makes a significant contribution in furthering Danville’s downtown growing identity as a cultural and tourism destination,” said a representative with Bluegrass Trust.

The Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation is a nonprofit organization based in Lexington and one of the oldest historic preservation organizations in the United States. Their mission is to connect people to their heritage and sense of place, and their work has saved many historical structures in Central Kentucky since their founding in 1955.

The Art Center, nominated for an award this year by Centre College, received the Clyde Carpenter Adaptive Reuse Award for outstanding efforts toward the rehabilitation or adaptive reuse of a building or buildings in Central Kentucky.

“The Art Center has always brought preservation and art together,” said Executive Director Niki Kinkade. The center’s original building at 401 West Main was renovated when the Art Center was in its beginning stages, 20 years ago.

“Now, we are renovating a second historic building and the adaptive reuse of this beautiful structure aligns with our mission of connecting people to art, culture, and creativity,” Kinkade said.

The restoration project is part of the Art Center’s ArtSee Campaign. Phase I was completed in December 2023. Phase II, which is currently underway, includes third-floor rehabilitation of the historic Odd Fellows Hall Ballroom, the construction of an elevator and stairwell, and creation of a glass-blowing studio. The Art Center is seeking donors to help complete this historic renovation project.

Located at 401 and 409 West Main Street in Danville, Kentucky, the Art Center of the Bluegrass connects people to art, culture, and creativity. Bringing 30,000 people through the doors each year for the GLASS National Art Museum, art exhibits, classes, workshops, retail space, café, events, community gatherings, cultural conversations, and ceramics studio, the Art Center of the Bluegrass is reimagining what an art center can be.