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February, 2016:

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ART247 Black and White Exhibition

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Friday, February 5, 2016
Heather N. Grimmer, right, cuts the ribbon to officially open ART247 to the public in a ceremony at the Market Street building this morning. Watching on is former owner Sally Bisher, left, and Bonni Haney, center. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER)

By +Scott Leffler

Neil Groff hangs a new sign this morning, officially marking the
opening of ART247. 
Dozens of area residents and lovers of the arts attended a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony earlier today at ART247 -- formerly Market Street Art Studios -- where they learned future plans for the sprawling complex from new owner, Heather Grimmer.

With fresh signage, paint and plans for far-more-extensive refurbishment, Grimmer explained her plans to turn a now-mostly-dormant part of the building into a mutli-use community theater and another part into a grand gallery, dwarfing the sizes of the center's two current galleries. Those visions are years away, but others will be handled much sooner.

The complex is currently in the process or cleaning and painting a space that was -- until recently -- Bear Market Studios, where chain saw carvings were made. Once the space is up to specs, it will be used as a classroom area for regular art classes like "paint and sip" classes. Then another larger area will be converted into classrooms and the "Bear Market" space will undergo another conversion -- into a coffee shop, giving the resident artists, of which there are more than 40, a place to grab a quick drink or snack.

Another of Grimmer's plans for the former Western Block Co. building is to install new windows throughout, the most noticeable will be on the building's northern side facing Market Street. The new glass will freshen up the building's exterior and make the place more inviting.

Grimmer purchased the complex from Art Hilger and Sally Bisher in a private sale on Jan. 1. Details of the sale have not been made public.


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