Transforming Main Street into a work of art & Waynesboro into an arts destination
A plan for increased tourism and economic impact Arts Alliance of Greater Waynesboro
STATEMENT Waynesboro is a beautiful town, situated in an ideal location bordering Maryland and within easy driving distance of several metropolitan areas. In the late 19th century through the Jazz Age of the 1920’s, the region was a tourist Mecca. A resort area in the Blue Ridge Mountains was developed, and thousands of visitors took the Western Maryland Railroad from Baltimore to visit Waynesboro and Pen Mar Park, where there was an amusement park, scenic lookout, dance pavilion, and much more. The single day park attendance during those years reached nearly 20,000 visitors. It was the place to be and to be seen for the high society of Washington, DC and Baltimore. But by 1929, things started to decline, and by 1943 the resort was dismantled, and tourism to the region ebbed.
Waynesboro today is still charming, and Pen Mar Park is still beautiful. However there are at many vacant buildings on Waynesboro’s Main Street, and the downtown area is currently underutilized. Given this town profile, we believe we have a unique opportunity to try something which could have a transformative and revitalizing effect on the downtown – helping stimulate economic development in the borough and county while also promoting Waynesboro as an arts and cultural hub for the tri-state area.
THE PROJECT The Arts Alliance of Greater Waynesboro (AAGW) is currently working on a project to place art in storefront windows in a number of buildings along Main Street. The Destination ARTS! event will build upon that by converting vacant stores into Art Galleries; art in existing businesses; bringing live music and other performing arts to town; encouraging crafters, artisans and arts organizations to exhibit and demonstrate their art; offering selective educational and children’s programs; and centering Arts Events in every available venue along Main Street. The goal is to make Waynesboro a cultural and arts destination, transforming the town into a venue which will attract tourism, arts lovers, artists, and arts organizations from around the country, with an immediate emphasis on the millions of people who live within a 100 mile radius of the town (culling visitors from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC). We believe that the economic impact of this event will be substantial; it will generate considerable positive and ongoing media attention and has the potential to attract businesses and permanent residents to locate in Waynesboro.
Out of the many possible sites with vacant stores along Main Street at the moment, we currently have 7 properties which area building owners have generously made available to us for the initial phase of this project. They are: 2 East Main St., 22 West Main St., 32 West Main St., 30 West Main St., 50 West Main St., Furniture Market at 37 West Main St., and 13 South Church St (the future site of the new Ceramic Arts Center of Waynesboro).We anticipate opening the event with 7 galleries, and adding more as buildings become available and/or we are able to make them “gallery ready”. (Additional buildings are still under consideration for inclusion, and the number of buildings and specific sites may be subject to change.)
In addition, through a Storefront Arts Initiative, we are placing art in the storefront windows of 10 to 12 additional buildings – some existing businesses, and some vacant buildings which are not available yet for full gallery use. So about 20 buildings along Main Street will exhibit quality art in their windows, changing the face of the town. In addition, several existing businesses will exhibit art inside their stores as well – for example, Christine’s Café will be presenting an ongoing exhibit honoring the Waynesboro Studio Arts Club’s Artist of the Month.
The Destination ARTS Galleries will be curated by an Art Selection Committee of experienced and highly respected artists, gallery owners, and museum directors. They will be filled with ALL kinds of art, from paintings and photography to pottery, jewelry, sculpture, and textiles. It will feature local artists as well as highly respected professionals from around the country. The galleries will be open at least two to three days per week and will also feature music, theater and other performing arts, crafters, children’s programs, and food vendors as part of a weekly Arts Walk. Our hope is that Waynesboro will become a destination for arts lovers, and that a project of this bold scope will encourage people to consider investing in the town, open viable businesses in the empty stores, and revitalize and reenergize Main Street.
We have the buildings, and we have a team of 20 enthusiastic and knowledgeable people working hard to acquire the art, clean the buildings, display and light the art, schedule musicians and other performing artists, and organize other events and activities.
Fridays, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturdays, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sundays, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Our hope is that this activity will bring the community together in a positive experience. That it will transform the town into an ever-changing work of art, using vacant space in a creative manner. It is an initiative towards revitalization, aimed at bringing tourism, businesses, and artists and arts organizations to town — a creative use of the arts to increase the quality of life of our community, and bring vibrant, family oriented activities to Main Street. Finally, Destination ARTS! is an initiative to draw attention to our community’s many strengths, and turn Waynesboro, PA into a regional and national ARTS DESTINATION. “Connecting our community through the arts!”