YARMOUTH — A building that now houses antique fire equipment will soon be transformed into a nonprofit art education center where children and adults will learn about painting, writing, pottery, digital media and nontraditional art.
A lease for Firehouse Arts at Winslow Station was approved by the Town Council on Nov. 17. The former fire station at 20 Center St. will be used as work space, a gallery, and have classrooms and administrative offices.
Janice Cooper, Firehouse Arts spokeswoman and board member, said the concept grew from the realization that there is a lack of art education in the community. She said organizers want the center to provide a community benefit.
“There is nothing available in computer art, comic book making, woodworking, sculpture, film editing and film making and on and on and on,” she said.
Firehouse Arts at Winslow Station will provide artists with a way to support themselves, show their work and teach others, she said. Classes will be open to the public, and prices will be comparable to Yarmouth Community Services classes, Cooper said.
The organization will be distinctly part of Yarmouth, Cooper said.
“It just fits so perfectly with where Yarmouth is and is going,” she said. “It’s not Freeport, it’s never going to be a retail center. It’s not Portland, it’s never going to have the late-night (activities) that goes on there. But it is a place people go because they like the style of living here and they like the way the village looks.”
Artists Leslie Hamren and Kat Gillies are working on the Firehouse Arts programming, collecting names of instructors and interested artists and potential class ideas.
“We’ve had so much interest in nontraditional art,” Hamren said, including fabric printing, writing workshops and film studies. “We want to appeal to the young, old, rich, poor … make it a real community house and let it be dictated by what people are interested in.”
Cooper said construction will begin as soon as they have approvals from the state fire marshal and town code enforcement officer.
Potter Jason Kendeigh, a board member and Yarmouth resident, said the construction will be completed in phases. Phase 1 will include improvements to the downstairs, where immediate needs are minimal and include installing a work sink, shelving and counter tops; upgrading the lights, and building an accessible bathroom.
The second phase will include second-floor improvements, a second egress, and creating the classroom, meeting and office spaces. In conjunction with the second phase, Kendeigh said plans for green space in front of the building will be considered.
Some of the construction can begin as soon as January, he said, and Cooper said she hopes classes can start by next spring.
“It’s been so exciting,” she said. “There has been enormous community support and I think it will be wildly successful.”
Winslow Station on Center Street in Yarmouth will soon be the home of Firehouse Arts.
After the antique firefighting equipment kept at Winlsow Station on Center Street is moved, Firehouse Arts at Winslow Station will use the space for classes, offices and meetings.