Art Guild’s Historic Barn To Become Art Studio

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This old barn will be transformed into Nassau Counties first art barn. (Photo courtesy of Debbie Greco-Cohen)

The Art Guild of Port Washington (TAG) will be transforming its historic barn into an art studio. The Nassau County Legislature voted unanimously to secure a $10,000 grant to The Art Guild that will be used to offset costs of offering discounted and free classes, lectures and demonstrations for Nassau County residents. This discounted and free programming will be given in a barn at Elderfields Preserve, the home of The Art Guild. The barn, which dates back to the 1800s, is being renovated through TAG fundraising efforts.

The barn was originally a hayloft when Elderfields was a working 200-acre farm. Today, plans call for utilizing the space to increase the number of art classes, lectures and demonstrations beyond what they could offer in the classrooms in the main house. This additional space coupled with the County grant will enable TAG to offer classes for adults and children more affordably, along with free lectures and demonstrations that will be offered exclusively to Nassau County residents.

“It is wonderful that The Art Guild raised the funds needed to renovate the barn to the point where they can now use it to offer additional programming,” Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton said in a press release. “I am proud to have been able to secure funding that enables them to start up this initiative in this new studio space by offering free and more affordable programming to County residents. Like the Grist Mill and Mackay Horse statue in Roslyn, I am always glad to support projects that preserve our communities’ rich historic past.”

“We are so excited about restoring this historic barn and are grateful to Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton for her continued support by providing a grant for programming in the new barn studio,” Art Guild Executive Director Lisa Grossman said. “We love the idea of using Elderfields Preserve in the way it was intended—a place for the arts. Thankfully, the community has embraced The Art Guild during the pandemic and we are happy to report that our reach just keeps extending throughout Nassau County. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to keep up with demand and offer more classes and workshops with the additional space the barn studio will provide.”

The Art Guild is in the process of hiring an architect that specializes in restorations to begin working on the barn. Renovations are set to begin as soon as the architectural plans are approved. The barn is structurally sound, but a complete renovation including a new roof as well as some safety features will need to be added before the barn can be used as an art studio.

“We have grand plans for [the barn],” Grossman said. “We have a printing press that was donated to us a number of years ago, which we are so excited to use because we will be able to offer print making classes in there. The barn is two floors, so we can have different kinds of classes at different times. We can also expand our exhibits once we are out there too. I would think it’s probably about a year out by the time we get new plans made and approvals and the work done, but we are very excited.”

Currently, the Art Guild utilizes the main house at Elderfields, which was built around 1675. The house is owned by Nassau County and currently serves as an art gallery for exhibits, offices and bright, open spaces for art classes for children and adults. The addition of the barn will allow the Art Guild to offer up more space for additional classes and workshops and will be the only art barn in Nassau County.

Grossman explained that since the pandemic, the Art Guild’s membership has grown exponentially and they are looking forward to the much needed additional space.

“We have been expanding by leaps and bounds, even during the pandemic,” Grossman said.

Early last year, the Art Guild transitioned to an all virtual model for their classes, and were one of the first of their kind to do so. Many people signed up for classes, even people from all over the country. Now that COVID restrictions have eased a bit, many attendees are sticking with the virtual classes because it is easier for them to participate virtually during their work day, as opposed to in-person.

“They have asked us to keep the online classes going so they can stay with us,” Grossman said. “So now we are offering both online and in-person classes.”

The Art Guild will also be holding their first in-person members showcase artist and awards reception on June 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. The showcase will artwork from artists all over Long Island and will be on view until July 17.

In place of their usual gala, the Art Guild will also be holding a fundraiser called “A Date To Create,” on July 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Elderfields Preserve.

“It’s going to be an afternoon of art projects for adults,” Grossman said. “All kinds of [events] with food and drinks. It’s going to be a really fun and COVID safe and we’re doing that in place of the gala this year.”

The event will feature a number of different sponsorships ranging from $5,000 to $250. Sponsorship opportunities include an event sponsor as well as opportunities to sponsor some of the events happening that night including a golf game, tye dye, print making, decor, sip and paint and more.

The Art Guild is located at 200 Port Washington Blvd., Manhasset. For more information on upcoming exhibits and art classes call 516-304-5797 or visit www.theartguild.org.

—Additional information provided by the office of Delia DeRiggi-Whitton

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