Thank You for 11 fabulous years.
With heavy hearts, Bill and Johanne Pesce will be retiring from The Windsor Whip Works Art Center
After 11 years of successful operation, it is with great sadness and reluctance that we’ll be ceasing operations after our final exhibit closing on October 29, 2016. The Art Center’s final exhibit opened on Saturday, September 10th and will remain open until the closing date. It is an inspiring exhibit with five artists in mixed media, oil, and bronze with compelling commentary on exploring being human.
This has been the most difficult year physically to keep up with the many strenuous activities and programs that the Art Center offers. Johanne and I have come to the realization that running the Art Center has become increasingly more difficult, leaving us little spare time to enjoy our four children and eight grandchildren. Our plan is to finally create art ourselves and travel before our health makes it too difficult. It is with a heavy heart that we have come to the decision that it’s time for a change and to move on to a new and less stressful phase of our lives.
The Windsor Whip Works Art Center has been a gratifying experience for my wife, Johanne, and me. We have met so many wonderful people who have become dear friends to us. We have been fortunate to have a dynamic, art-loving board of directors, including people like Bryna Silbert, our curator, who knows who’s who in the fine art business and has been responsible for choosing most of the 200+ artists who have shown at the gallery over its eleven years of operation and the many others who serve on our board including Jean Matthiessen, Nikole Cappello, Brad Vickers, Joe Trapper, David Yetter, Kit and Dr. Mike Ashman, Sima Auerbach. Mina Smallacombe, Richard Nolan, Richard Lynch, Joy McMicken, Kedron Hay, Sharon Warnock, Marc and Janis Schimsky, Fred Xlander, Lauren Floden, and Joanne Arnold. To these and many others who have served over the years, we will always be grateful.
It is certainly sad and difficult to let go, but I’d like to share some of the happier, exciting times and talk a bit about what the Whip Works Art Center has accomplished, closing on a more positive note.
In 1999, anticipating retiring, serious thought was given to moving to our vacation home in Windsor. The fact that taxes were cheaper; the air and water cleaner and we would no longer endure bumper to bumper traffic was, indeed, appealing. While driving down Main Street in Windsor, one day, we noticed a “for sale” sign on a dilapidated building. Being a novice concerning what’s involved in renovating old buildings, I said to Johanne, “We can buy the building at a real bargain, fix it up and open an art gallery. It will be a great hobby; we could meet creative people and finally do the great painting I was waiting all my life to accomplish.”
Over the years, the building had deteriorated into an eyesore from years of neglect. That summer the structure was purchased; and after five years and more money than we had ever expected to invest, it was restored to its original architecture, turning it into an upscale art gallery and vibrant community art center.
I was firmly committed, and would not listen to all the good advice everyone was telling me.
“Renovating that building and opening an art gallery in WINDSOR is a crazy idea.”
But, as it turned out, they were wrong. What we soon discovered was that an art gallery’s mission was not only selling and promoting the arts; in fact, it could be a driving force influencing community revitalization.
The Art Center is located in an 1872 Italianate building that faces the Village Green in Windsor, NY. The building was the home of the Windsor Whip Works factory from 1901 to 1951. Until the advent of the automobile, Windsor had been one of the leading manufacturers of buggy whips in America.
In 2008 the Windsor Whip Works Art Gallery became the Windsor Whip Works Art Center— a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, acting as a visual arts resource for all ages and levels of ability; serving Broome and Delaware Counties and northeastern Pennsylvania.
In addition to the many opening receptions each year, which included a Windsor student art exhibit for grades K to 12, we also offered poetry recitals, Art Alliance seminars with guest speakers, various classes such as life drawing, printmaking and dozens of painting workshops, bus trips to museums and galleries and so much more. The Art Center had become a place for artists and those who love the arts, to come together to learn, socialize, and grow. It has always been the vision of the Art Center to increase the quality of life within our community, while drawing attention to the new vibrancy of Windsor and the surrounding area.
The biggest discovery was learning that our organization could play a leading role influencing community revitalization.
Statistics show that every time a village, town or city supports the growth of the arts, it sparks an economic revitalization. The Windsor Whip Works Art Center has dedicated itself to helping create a robust cultural environment that has contributed to the economic development and quality of life in the community in which we live.
The Windsor Whip Works influenced several exciting local projects. While serving as Vice President of the Windsor Partnership, a progressive organization responsible for innovative programs leading to Windsor’s revitalization, I had an integral part in developing and serving seven years as a board member helping to organize the highly successful Window on the Arts annual festival, chaired over the years by Dick Rehberg, Dave Yetter, Sue Rambo and Sharon Warnock. We proudly celebrated First Knight at the gallery, painting portraits of the cutest youngsters you’ve ever seen, providing a cultural art exhibit, music and merriment for the community. As president of the Eagle River Valley Cultural & Economic Corridor, an on-going initiative, we strategically linked the towns and villages of Hancock, Deposit and Windsor into a powerful marketing tool to attract tourists, homebuyers and investors. My vision to turn a blighted Main Street building into an anchor to promote revitalization of our village Main Street sparked the formation of the non-profit organization, the Windsor Community Revitalization Organization. I plan to continue as a board member to facilitate the highly motivated and skilled restoration project of the old Windsor Inn into an inn offering several period specific suites, a fine dining restaurant, tavern and gift shop. The interior of the Inn will be designed to make visitors feel as though they stepped back in time to the inn’s glory days of 1832.
While we had all our art exhibits planned into 2017 as well as an 11th year Anniversary Dinner/Dance scheduled for this November’s First Friday at Atomic Tom’s, it saddens us to face the monumental task of dismantling the up-coming plans that took so long to develop. That said, we are pleased about the legacy we leave behind, the many friends we made over the years, and for the beautiful Art Gallery building that will continue to influence the growth and revitalization up and down Main Street in the Windsor community for years to come.
The big question is what’s going to happen to the Art Center? We are hoping that a local will be interested in taking over Art Center, a non-profit, tax exempt organization. If you or anyone you know might be interested, please contact us.
What will we be doing from now on? Well, maybe at last, we will finally get to dedicating time into creating art, enjoying our family, traveling, and continuing to be involved in the community Johanne and I have come to love so much.
Join us in celebrating our eleventh-year anniversary/farewell fundraiser on Saturday, October 8, from 7 to 10 pm. Suggested tax deductible donation $25. There will be raffles for a chance to win artwork donated by many local artists. We encourage all our friends to come enjoy wine, food, music, and a great time of being together sharing memories, hugs, and maybe even a few tears.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!
Co-directors, Bill & Johanne Pesce