A lot of hard work and money went into the renovation of the New Hope Arts Center, but it all paid off with a ribbon cutting Tuesday.
The nonprofit New Hope Arts Center at Bridge Street and Stockton Avenue unveiled its renovations that will make it easier for all patrons to access the center.
Over the past few months, workers have been adding an elevator to the building, a new lobby space, a metal and wood staircase, upgraded bathrooms, and a new wheelchair-accessible ramp.
New Hope Borough Mayor Larry Keller, who is also a board member for the arts center, commended the outcome of the project and the work that has been completed.
The upgrades were made possible after $1.2 million capital campaign titled “Elevate the Arts.”
A $115,000 state grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development helped, and then locals Stephen and Pamela Can committed $250,000 and said the nonprofit had to match that amount.
Stephen Can said his donation was to support a project that wasn’t transitional but was transformation for the arts-centered nonprofit.
“I want to echo the pride that I have in being a board member and this project, and it’s a very emotional day,” said architect Ralph Fey, who oversaw the work and is a board member.
Fey said the building, which was a barn and a stable, was in disrepair when the arts center purchased it 20 years ago.
The architect said New Hope Arts Center founding director Robin Larsen, who passed away in 2009, would be thrilled to see the completion of the work.
“I feel Robin would be very proud of us,” he said.
“Today, we have fruition of her vision that’s gone through many cycles over the years. This is a little tribute to her inspirations,” said Carol Cruickshanks, executive director of the New Hope Arts Center.
Glen Stephan, an arts center board member and the contractor for the project, spoke of the steps needed to update the old building.
“This was a challenging job,” he said. “There was lots of stone – 60 tons – to get out of here.”
Work began in January and wrapped up recently.
Stephan’s father, who is in a wheelchair, took the first guest ride in the art center’s new elevator.
The New Hope Arts Center will be hosting a members-only reception scheduled for this weekend and is reopening to the public next week.
Keller, the borough’s mayor, was clear to state the center was “not done” with upgrades.
“We still have a roof and a brick building on the southeast corner that will need work. We have other projects that are on our wish list that we just couldn’t accomplish. So we’re going to extend this campaign and we’re going to shoot now for getting another half million by the end of 2023,” Keller said.