Community arts center to expand services to benefit village

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CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. &mdash The village is on its way to having a primary information hub and an easier way to navigate the area's history, due to a planned expansion of Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education campus.

The Village Store retail business will close and be transformed into a welcome center and arts activity space for the hall and village. An "End of An Era Sale" will commence for the month of July while the Hall's receptionist is moved over the space and activation of new uses will start halfway through August.

"I think a location such as this has been needed for a long time in the village, and I'm glad to see Hubbard Hall take this on. We do not have one central location where visitors or residents can access information about the community and upcoming events," Cambridge Mayor Carman Bogle said. "The history and charm of the Village Store location is an additional bonus."

Four buildings are currently a part of the hall's campus. The Chamber of Commerce relocated to the area last month. The box office was moved into the store space two years ago. After the transformation, the Cambridge drama club will utilize it, as well as maps, history and tourist information that will be stationed there. The storefront will showcase artwork.

The Hubbard Hall Board spent the last year planning the change.

"We're also in talks with the parks system and may be implementing a cultural heritage center in the space with maps and info of the history, " David Snider, HH executive and artistic director said. "We can help to drive tourism in the village to help people get info about what's here including the arts and Washington County at large. There's so much you don't know if you just arrive, and right now there isn't a centrally located place for that to happen. "

Village maps currently don't exist and the administrator's offices reside outside Route 22, Snider said.

"That's also an opportunity for the main street entrance to be a portal for the whole campus.

"We'll invest some money with new furnishings and a new lobby space, and we're looking at taking down false aesthetic work," he said. "We're looking to invest some what for a better welcoming center."

Hubbard Hall campus was renovated from a late 1800's opera house and freight yard complex into a community arts and education center. It typically hosts workshops, music and dance performances and classes for all ages and skill levels. It is located at 25 East Main St.

The July retail sale will have unique items at 30 percent off, according to a release from the hall. Its hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be closed from June 28 to 30 to prepare for the month long event.

—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.


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