Creative York has updated space and honed message

Sean Philip Cotter
Creative York board member and Teaching Artist Stacey Holtzapple, of West York, dresses the window in preparation for the upcoming ribbon-cutting for the space in York, Pa. on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (Dawn J. Sagert - The York Dispatch)

It's changed its name and focused its mission.

The organization that used to be called YorkArts has morphed into Creative York and will unveil its renovated building at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Friday, said Laura Abbott, the organization's director of marketing and development.

After a capital campaign gathered money from more than 200 donors, the organization in June 2015 began a $1.5 million series of renovations on the building at 10 N. Beaver St., which it has owned since 1999, Abbott said.

What it has done to the building reflects the more honed mission, which has come to focus more on teaching the arts and general creative thinking, she said.

"In the past we were always the Swiss army knife of York arts organizations," she said. YorkArts had a little bit of everything, including studios it rented out on the second floor, gallery space, classrooms and space rented out in the basement to a musical act.

But with so many art organizations popping up around the city, the nonprofit decided that doesn't make so much sense anymore. So it swapped the studios out for more classroom space and took over the whole basement floor, turning it into a much bigger pottery studio than was down there already — now featuring 12 wheels instead of two.

"We took the opportunity to focus our mission," Abbott said. "We really want to be that place where people can explore their creativity."

Classes have already started, she said. There are pottery classes in the basement and classes for various other visual arts — including digital arts, such as animation — on the second floor, she said. Creative York is able to offer way more classes now, and courses for various skill levels, she said.

Part of the name change was to make the organization to seem more inclusive — everyone can be creative, Abbott said, even if they're not stellar at a conventional art form.

"They may not be able to paint, but they’re creative people," she said.

Anyone can sign up for classes on the organization's website, Many are four-, five- or even 10-week courses, meeting once a week; others are single longer Saturday sessions.

Sandwiched between the two class-heavy floors is the first floor, where the galleries are. The organization has added a new "auxiliary gallery" space that's intended to make it easier for local artists to showcase their goods. That's behind the main gallery, which is already booked up for the year.

Starting at the ribbon cutting on this First Friday, 10 of the organization's "teaching artists" will have their art on display, showing off art of a range of media. They are: Justin Ayala, Kelsey Brown, Hannah Eberly, Elia Filippone, Christina Fritz, Stephanie Holmes, Stacey Holtzapple, Kayla Krebs, Mitchell Miller and Andrew Yeager, according to the organization's website.

"Oh my goodness, it’s all over the board," Abbott said. "It’s a very diverse set of art."

— Reach Sean Cotter