Old schoolhouse newest addition at East End Arts

07/15/2015 12:00 PM |
East Ends Arts education director Diane Giardi will be organizing activities at the schoolhouse building. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

East Ends Arts education director Diane Giardi will be organizing activities at the schoolhouse building. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

East End Arts is getting a new addition from way back when.

Fresh Ponds Schoolhouse, a one-room structure built in 1821, was renovated this spring by the Riverhead Town Building Department.

The schoolhouse will host a variety of programs beginning next month, said East End Arts executive director Pat Snyder. The building is nearly complete and is waiting on the installation of a heating and air conditioning system, she added.

“We will be doing some artist talks this summer and potentially have a screening of an artist-in-residence’s film,” Ms. Snyder said.

The schoolhouse’s inaugural event will take place during JumpstART, an East End Arts public art project now entering its second year. The program’s culmination will be the display of its artists’ work on Aug. 7.

“One artist is a children’s author and illustrator so we will [use the building to] help display his work and do storytelling,” Ms. Snyder said.

The renovated Fresh Pond Schoolhouse. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The renovated Fresh Pond Schoolhouse. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A fall schedule is currently being created for events at the former schoolhouse and Ms. Snyder added that local nonprofits will also be able to use the space. Education director Diane Giardi will be organizing many of the activities.

“Now that there is more activity in downtown Riverhead — on a typical weekend there’s a lot of foot traffic happening, especially along the river — [the schoolhouse] provides the opportunity for other organizations to have access to the community. And in that way, it makes it an important project,” Ms. Snyder said.

Following the 432-square-foot building’s top-to-bottom renovation, Ms. Snyder described it as “so beautiful.”

The structure, which was once one of 15 single-room schoolhouses in Riverhead Town, is located on town property that has been leased by East End Arts since 1972.

“At East End Arts our programs are growing all the time,” Ms. Snyder said. “To have another space where we can feature artists or other public programs is to everybody’s benefit.”

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