Design Award Winners (2023)

Arts on Main

Project Overview

The relocation of the Center for Art and Education to downtown Van Buren is designed to showcase the arts while contributing to the revitalization of historic Main Street. The organization, which provides art education classes to both school children and adults, had been limited by their lack of space to teach classes and display the work of local and regional artists.

The purchase of the circa 1893 Farmers House Hotel and adjacent circa 1900 Post Office Building #3 offered significant challenges as the buildings had fallen victim to failed roofs, water damage, and fire. The original buildings had been modified with additions and renovations before being abandoned for many years.

Because the buildings are located within the Main Street Historic District the renovations were subject to historic preservation program requirements. The owner also wished to utilize Historic Preservation Tax Credits to help pay for the renovations. The design response melded the program requirements for art education and gallery space with the requirements for restoring the buildings to their original historic appearance.

The removal of a 1960’s era metal sidewalk canopy allowed the storefront of both buildings to be restored to their original design. This opened the gallery spaces located on the first floor to Main Street creating an enticement for pedestrians to enter the building and explore the gallery exhibits.

Teaching studios are located on the second floor and in the newly constructed Pottery Building located behind the historic structures. A Culinary Arts Studio is located at the rear of the first floor. This allows the Galleries to be secured after business hours while allowing access to the teaching spaces for night classes via a secondary entry at the rear of the historic structures.

Upon the move to the new facility located on Main Street, The Center for Art and Education was renamed Arts On Main.