New arts center coming to Altoona

Local News

Demolition is underway at the Kress building in downtown Altoona.

Folks working on the project said the soon to be studio arts enter will be a tourist spot for locals and visitors.

The president of ArtsAltoona said the project is all about using the arts as a vehicle for economic development.

“Well, obviously we think the facility is something that people will want to see. We think that chatting with local artist, learning about their process will certainly be of interest to people. We think it’s something unique that doesn’t exist anywhere in this area between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg that we are aware of, and we really want to bring people here,” Gority said.

Gority added the project is still in its early stages of demolition.

Project architect Judy Coutts said the facility will add to the already thriving arts community.

“We have a lot of very talented artists in our community, and I think the success of the Mishler Theatre and the success of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art just are testimonies to the fact that there is a real thriving arts community,” Coutts said.

She added she’s looking forward to seeing the final product.

“For me, my hear is old buildings, so I’m really excited to see a vacant building being repurposed, so that’s what I want to see,” Coutts said.

Gority said the arts are already everywhere in downtown Altoona.

“We’re rich in the arts, but there is always more to bring new artists into the area, incorporate them into Altoona, or make local artists that are already here have the opportunity to be more successful with having an actual studio, exposed to the public on a regular basis, and so forth,” Gority said.

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