Poughkeepsie's Trolley Barn Chugs Along | Poughkeepsie | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It
Favorite

Poughkeepsie's Trolley Barn Chugs Along 

The Crown Jewel of a Dedicated Arts Campus

click to enlarge The renovated Poughkeepsie Trolley Barn at 489 Main Street.
  • The renovated Poughkeepsie Trolley Barn at 489 Main Street.

Since the announcement last March of $1 million in Restore New York Communities funding for the Poughkeepsie Trolley Barn, the property’s owner, Roy T. Budnik, has been a very busy man. Now, the latest jewel in Poughkeepsie’s cultural crown is open and hosting events—but there’s even more to come.


Budnik is the founder and board member of the Mid Hudson Heritage Center, a community arts and culture nonprofit, which he has charged with running the Trolley Barn as one of four event spaces. The nonprofit, which was founded in 2010, is firmly rooted in the Middle Main heart of downtown. Art Centro, located at 485 Main, is a pottery studio with classes, studios, gallery space and events. Glebe House, at 635 Main, is city-owned and being developed as a history center. Nearby, the PUF (Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory) Studios offer printmaking facilities and classes. At 489 Main Street, the Trolley Barn is poised to take center stage as a huge multi-arts facility. “Phase I is complete. We had an event last night and two today,” Budnik said last week. “The whole building is going to be the centerpiece of a dedicated arts campus.”

click to enlarge Historic photos of the Trolley Barn were used to guide the restoration.
  • Historic photos of the Trolley Barn were used to guide the restoration.

Originally built as a stable for trolley horses in 1874, then remodeled and enlarged when trolleys were electrified in 1894, and rebuilt after a 1906 fire, the Trolley Barn’s overhead doors and large windows “make it easy for people to walk in off the street,” Budnik says. “I hope they will. I’m optimistic. I used to have the one gallery in town, and now they’re opening up all over the place.”

Multiphase Development

Phase l included the build out of the front 3,000 square feet with bathrooms, offices, and gallery/event space, restoration of the facade, and installation of utilities. Phase ll will include finishing out an apartment for use by artists and renovation of the 9,000-square-foot main trolley room and 2,000-square-foot annex. The final phase will be renovation of the basement/lower level to include a small black-box theater, and additional gallery space.

click to enlarge The Trolley Barn pre-renovation.
  • The Trolley Barn pre-renovation.

Past events include an art exhibit entitled “Hudson River of Bricks” last fall, a Reformed Church event, and a teen art show, which was a fundraiser for the newly formed Art Effect. Budnik takes great delight in the range of events and services the MHHC will be empowered to offer.


“Dutchess Outreach and the Hudson Valley Food Bank do their distribution here,” he says, “and the Vassar College ModFest is holding the premiere event here, a performance bringing together chamber music and hip hop. Vassar is giving us a Steinway and offering music lessons. So this is a place for everybody, whether you need food or want to take piano lessons on a Steinway. We’ve got art from Poughkeepsie High students hanging with art from kids from an expensive private school in Millbrook. Quite the spectrum.”

click to enlarge Poster for the "Teen Visions" art exhibit at Trolley Barn.
  • Poster for the "Teen Visions" art exhibit at Trolley Barn.

A community-based studio for textile design and production, a collaboration with staff from Marist College and the Fashion Institute of Technology, will hold its opening celebration on February 15. Staff at Vassar College have proposed a lab at the Trolley Barn for teaching digital imaging/design technologies and applications. According to the City of Poughkeepsie’s current funding application, the Trolley Barn project is a “model of alliance and revival.” The final, total cost of the project is estimated at $5 million. Along with the state funds, some funding has come from the federal NeighborWorks program.

Of the People, For the People

So what’s going on in the 11,000 square foot space? Pretty much whatever Poughkeepsie folks have said they need. Five visioning sessions have been held, bringing in over 150 collaborators to help plan studios, classrooms, and offices for the community, and more input is welcome.


“I’m still open to suggestions,” Budnik says. “I want to make it a venue for everyone. Over the summer, while the front was boarded up, kids would walk by and be so curious and excited that something new was happening on Main Street, and we’d ask what they wanted. One of them yelled, ‘Do something for us!’ and that’s what we intend to do.”


click to enlarge The "Hudson River of Bricks" installation, by Julia Whitney Barnes traces the rivers path to New York City in bricks, a historic product of the region.
  • The "Hudson River of Bricks" installation, by Julia Whitney Barnes traces the rivers path to New York City in bricks, a historic product of the region.


Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Farm Salon Patti Hill Gordon @ Greig Farm

Farm Salon Patti Hill Gordon

June 1-July 1 — A retrospective exhibition of the work of late artist Patti Hill Gordon...
Spring Exhibition. Marking Time: The Work of Ernest Shaw @ The Moviehouse

Spring Exhibition. Marking Time: The Work of Ernest Shaw

March 23-June 25 — Ernest Shaw has work in nearly 50 museum, university and public collections,...

View all of today's events

Chronogram on Instagram

Latest in HV Towns

  • Effortless Ideal: The Village of Rhinebeck
  • Effortless Ideal: The Village of Rhinebeck

    Rhinebeck, NY’s elegant, historic architecture enrobes a diverse array of restaurants and shops, and a vibrant, engaged community.
    • Jun 1, 2019
  • The Inaugural Phoenicia Magic Festival
  • The Inaugural Phoenicia Magic Festival

    If you're looking for magic this summer, look no further than the Phoenicia Playhouse, which will host its debut Phoenicia Magic Festival this July 26-28.
    • Jun 1, 2019
  • Inaugural Poughkeepsie Pride Weekend to be Held June 7-9
  • Inaugural Poughkeepsie Pride Weekend to be Held June 7-9

    Save the date: Poughkeepsie will be celebrating its first Pride Weekend celebration June7-9. The event will be hosted by the Dutchess County Pride Center who is organizing a series of events over a two-day period. There will be poetry readings, live music, and a theatrical performance, all leading up to a LGBTQ pride parade. Numerous local businesses and politicians will be in attendance to show support for the cause. Dutchess County Pride Center hopes to foster a safe space for the queer community and its allies to express themselves freely.
    • May 30, 2019
  • More »