Artsbridge headquarters relocation underway

PARKERSBURG – The new Artsbridge headquarters will hold a wealth of opportunities for local art education and experiences.

Over the sound of a nearby church’s bells signaling the change of the hour, the new Artsbridge location seemed to be a place of great potential.

Amid the piles of boxes and haphazardly placed papers, the fact the Artsbridge group has been settling into this building for only a couple of days is all too obvious.

The new Artsbridge location has the members of the local arts education and experience group excited and hopeful for the future. The group is hoping to offer a new artistic experience to the Mid-Ohio Valley from its new address at 925 Market St., Parkersburg.

Located only steps away from the old headquarters, the new Artsbridge location is more than five times the size of the space the organization was working in, according to Lee Rector, president of the Artsbridge Board of Directors.

Artsbridge has served the Mid-Ohio Valley region for 25 years, focusing on providing arts education and experiences to local students and adults whenever it can.

“We like to think of ourselves as an umbrella of arts for the area,” Rector said. “We try to support every type of arts that we can,” he said.

Because of the new location’s size, Artsbridge has many new opportunities available for serving the public.

“This new location has 5,000 square feet of space for us to work with,” Rector said.

The new location is on street level and handicap accessible.

It features a large front room, and the back of the building contains several office spaces, board rooms and a large storage room, Rector said.

“With all of this space, we can really diversify what Artsbridge does for the community,” Rector said.

The new building is a substantial upgrade from the old location, said Mark Lanyon, Artsbridge executive director. “Our old location was only 900 square feet, and had many steps leading up to it. This is a vast improvement,” Lanyon said.

The summer months saw much worry at Artsbridge, according to Sarah Townsend, Artsbridge treasurer.

The building where the old Artsbridge headquarters was located was sold earlier this year, Townsend said. At the end of July, the nonprofit arts organization was informed by the new landlord it needed to find a new place to operate, Rector said.

When the new location became available, just a few feet away from the old headquarters, Artsbridge gladly accepted, Townsend said.

“We are very much still moving in,” Townsend said during a tour on Wednesday. “We have been here only a few days and don’t even have a working phone yet,” she said.

Artsbridge has big plans for the front room of the new location, said Townsend. They have not determined fixed renovation plans yet, but hope to use the large front area as a place to showcase local up-and-coming artists, she said.

“We are hoping to set this (front area) up as a place where we can hold poetry readings, and maybe showcase young performing artists, like a modern coffee house,” Townsend said.

Other hopes for the front space include a place for parents to view the art their children create on special Artsbridge trips to West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Their goal is to provide the community with a space and an opportunity to experience the wealth of arts that the Mid-Ohio Valley offers, Townsend said.

Artsbridge will hold its official opening ceremony for the new location sometime in November, although no date has been announced.