by Dan McClelland
Tupper Lake's uptown business district will soon be home to a new arts center where various types of art and music will be enjoyed and cultivated throughout the entire year.
Two years ago Louise McNally took over the direction of Tupper Lake's Art Show and last year she paired it with a very successful street festival with the help of a small committee of volunteers. She is also currently the mainstay of the Tupper Lake beautification program with the village, where pots of flowers and greenery now grace our business districts every season of the year.
Since last summer the local resident has been working on a replacement to the defunct Tupper Lake Arts Council, which folded about two years ago. This spring saw the birth of the new cultural organization here called Tupper Arts.
Tupper Arts' first event happened in April with the successful staging of Tupper's first Mud Ball at the train station. The informal gala raised over $4,000 to pay for entertainment Friday nights this summer at the new Lions bandshell in what Tupper Arts is calling its Summer Sunset Series of free concerts.
Two of the people who Louise has gathered around her this past year are newcomers Tony and Lynn Quinn who three years ago purchased from the Tupper Lake Christian Center congregation the building that was for decades the home of Futterman Furniture at 106 Park Street.
Louise and members of her small group and the Quinns have been meeting in recent weeks and in recent days finalized an arrangement where the spacious storefront building will be home to a new arts center.
“We're very excited about it!” Mrs. McNally said Monday. She said one of her dreams in recent years has been to open an arts center in Tupper Lake.”
“Tony and Lynn were very supportive of providing us space when we approached them. Like us they are very excited about what can happen there in the years to come.”
“They love the community. They really want to make a difference!” Mrs. McNally told the Free Press.
Lynn is the daughter of Woody Maroun, a popular barkeeper here for many years and Nancy (Peets) Maroun.
Lynn was born in Tupper Lake and she and her parents moved to Buffalo when she was three but visited here often over her childhood as w the majority of her family members live here. She lived here in 1984 and 1985, helping her dad run Woody's High Hat Lounge on Park Street. That was also the year she met Tony in Florida.
The couple lived there through 2012 when they moved to Tennessee. They are currently transitioning into Tupper Lake full time.
The storefront areas in the front of the building will become retail space where Tupper Arts in a new gift gallery will sell the paintings, crafts, jewelry and other products of local artisans and crafts people.
The organization will be looking for volunteers in the months to come to staff the store.
In the spacious area partitioned off behind the retail and office areas in front is where arts, culture and music will be enjoyed and promoted in various types of exhibits, shows and live performances in the months ahead.
The building features about 9,600 square feet of space spread over its main level and basement level floors- so there's plenty of room for cultural endeavors and activities of all sorts.
“In addition to art shows, musical theater, dramatic productions, etc. for the community to enjoy we want to be a place to foster local talent,” Mrs. McNally explained. To that end, the new Tupper Arts Center will be home to a variety of workshops and classes over the course of the year where people can take art lessons, music lessons, dance classes- the majority of them taught by local artists and musicians.
She said she was hopeful those folks will come forward to share their talents with others.
The goal of the Tupper Arts leaders is to also make the new place self-supporting through the activities hosted there.
“Our goal is also to become the hub for many good things to happen here, and particularly the development of a love and appreciation of art and music by our young people.”
The fledgling Tupper Arts committee is in the process of obtaining not for profit status through the Internal Revenue Service and once that designation is granted all donations will be tax deductible. In the meantime the new group is working with ARISE, which has that status currently.
The building that the Quinns will make available to Tupper Arts is “perfect for our purposes,” she noted this week.
Louise is currently working with high school art teacher Shannon Kavanagh, who has challenged her students to create artwork that will be affixed and displayed all across the top of the building's front on Park Street.
They will be just temporary, however, until a new facade for the building is created in a flavor appropriate for an arts center.
The first event the new place will host will be a gala and fundraiser organized by Tupper Arts on the eve of the annual art show on Tuesday, August 7 at 7p.m.
“It should be a very historic, celebratory evening to welcome this year's summer art show in our new place on Park Street,” said Louise.
For decades the art show was run out of the community room in the basement of the Goff Nelson Memorial Library. Two years ago it was moved to the Tupper Lake train station and last summer to the former Ginsberg's Department Store building on Park Street.
Now with a new and permanent home, the art show this year is expected to be extended from four days of so to the entire month of August.
“We are truly indebted to Lynn and Tony for their belief in Tupper Lake and its brighter future and for their support of our dream to create an arts center here for the enjoyment of the people of our community and our visitors,” Mrs. McNally said in closing.
by Dan McClelland