Saturday, January 26, 2013

What’s in a name?

Note: This article was written by Adirondack Express reporter Chrissy Prichard for the grand opening Gala at View in July, 2011. I thought our blog readers might enjoy this thoughtful perspective. Chrissy’s article is reprinted here with permission and was posted by View stafferLeslie Bailey.

A New Name, A Fresh Start

by Chrissy Prichard

Over the winter, the Arts Center/Old Forge moved across the road to a new, custom-built, environmentally friendly facility featuring many upgrades and lots more space. With all the changes and new things going on, the staff and board members thought this would be a good time to consider giving the organization a fresh new name.

"We want people to see us in a new light and with fresh eyes," said Executive Director Jennifer Potter Hayes.

The announcement was made at a media open house held on Wednesday, May 18. The art center's new name, "View," was chosen for its simplicity and because the word conjures up visions of arts, artists, and the reason many visitors come to the Adirondacks: to see the view.

Hayes hopes the name will make people stop and think. The name is open to interpretation and means different things to different people. For example, works of regional and national artists are on view, viewers come to see the view, workshop students come to create their own view.

The name is a reflection of all the new possibilities that the new facility provides. "The organization has really been transformed," says Hayes. "We moved from an 8,000 square foot building to a state-of-the-art 28,000 square foot building built specifically for the arts."

When it was time to decide on a new name, the board quickly realized they didn't have the expertise, and needed an objective opinion. Howard Fish of Points North Communications was brought in as a consultant on the new name.

"We chose him because he has lots of experience in the Adirondacks, and we really liked what he did at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake," says Hayes.

Fish interviewed over 20 board members, long-time volunteers, and staff. He surveyed artists, art center members, and people in town. He also pored over files filled with the history of the 60-year old organization. As he digested all this information, he noticed the word "view" kept popping up over and over.

"We liked the simplicity of a one-word name," says Hayes. "We realized the old name was a little too specific and really narrowed people's perspective."

The board was advised against using terms like "Adirondacks" or "Old Forge" because although there is a strong base of local and regional artists and patrons, the center is hoping people will recognize them on more of a national level. "Our viewers, artists, students, instructors and performers come from across the U.S and Canada, and I don't think everyone realizes that," said Hayes.

Fish also suggested that using the words "Arts Center" in the name would cause people to make assumptions. Hayes agrees that it may narrows people's view of what is offered. "Everyone has some sort of arts center where they live, which gives them their own idea of what an art center is or should be," says Hayes, "but chances are, it's not the same as this."

Jody Pritchard, View's graphic artist, says the new name and simple logo are fun to work with. "The clean lines make it good for layering," she says. "It's like a lattice through which art can be viewed."

Members of the press were taken on an in depth tour of the new facility led by Pritchard, Events Coordinator Elise Carlson, and Performing Arts Coordinator Alan Saban. In the design of the new building, no detail was overlooked. Flexibility is built into every space to make it very useful and to accommodate almost any scenario. In the old building the gallery, performance space, and events space were all one and the same, making it difficult to have more than one thing going on at a time and really limited what could be offered.

"Anytime there was more than two things going on at once, it got crazy," says Pritchard.

It is now possible for multiple exhibits, performances, workshops, and meetings to take place simultaneously without disturbing each other, since each has their own designated area in the building.

On any given day, visitors can find exhibitions in any or all of the five spacious galleries. Gould Hall, with its sprung floors, state of the art lighting and sound, retractable seating for 200, Steinway piano, and a "green room" for performers will not only provide a venue for performances, but also doubles as event and banquet space. The adjacent outdoor courtyard serves as an extension of Gould Hall, providing an indoor-outdoor space for large events, as well as a place to display "outdoor art" such as sculptures.

The commercial kitchen will be used for catering and food preparation for various events, and also as a space for culinary education. The studio wing houses workshop space for anything from jewelry to pottery. The new pottery studio features a large outdoor gas kiln, a glaze preparation room, and a spray booth.

Upstairs there are more rooms for conferences and workshops, featuring room dividers that can be opened and closed to accommodate different sized groups. Kinderwood preschool has a suite that includes a restroom, storage, and office space. An office area accommodates the majority of the staff, in a bright space that also includes a lounge. Also upstairs is the lighting and sound booth for Gould Hall.

Behind the building is a large generator capable of powering the whole facility. In the event of a long-term power outage or natural disaster, people can seek shelter at View. The entire facility is heated and cooled by an energy efficient geothermal system. The building will soon receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for using green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance.

Other issues like parking and handicapped accessibility were addressed with a large paved parking lot, an elevator, and handicapped accessible restrooms.

A full summer season of events are planned to highlight and showcase all that View has to offer. "Everything we do is being developed and grown, building on a strong foundation of workshops, exhibits, and performances," says Hayes. "We are also able to add new areas with the addition of our events manager and performing arts program manager."

Thanks, Chrissy, for this point of View!

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