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February, 2016:

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ART247 Black and White Exhibition

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The bottom of Market Street hill in Lockport is getting a face-lift as Market Street Art Studios transforms into ART247, a center for the arts in the greater Niagara region. The re-imagined art studios, galleries, gift shop, arts programming and education center will host a ribbon cutting celebration and grand opening to the public and VIPs at 11 a.m. Feb. 5 at the ART247 complex, 247 Market St.. The celebration will continue on through opening weekend 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

ART247, a rich and diverse arts center overlooking the Erie Canal in Historic Lowertown, was originally founded as Market Street Art Studios, which developed a long history of providing arts and cultural education, lessons, and exhibitions to the area, as well as arts learning and studio spaces to regional artists and beyond.

The new art center’s mission is to ensure that the legacy and prosperity of the regional arts community carries on, as well as grows to offer the greater Niagara region increased programs in arts education, exhibition works, satellite/visiting exhibits from partnering galleries of works by master artists, and increased community access to the arts, where funding and exposure to the arts is being reduced elsewhere.

The art center’s new owner, Heather Grimmer, will be on hand to share how ART247 will build off of the history of the former Western Block Company building and the goals and vision for increasing arts programming and education at the arts center. Additionally, with its current two exhibition galleries, classrooms, an arts gift shop, and nearly 40 resident artists and their studios -- masters of many diverse fine art mediums -- Grimmer will also discuss the planning underway for growth and remodeling of the current facility’s still nearly 60 percent  un-renovated space of the 250,000+ square-foot complex.

Grimmer, who studied architecture at Syracuse University, worked regionally in architectural design and renovation, has served as a professional photographer, web designer/developer, graphic designer, and occasionally as a painter said, “I think it's safe to say I'm a person in love with the arts.” With her additional background in business management and strategic planning she also brings the skill level to further develop and grow the art center, and see the success of the center through.

Grimmer, who is also co-publisher of East Niagara Post, bought the art complex from former owners Art Hilger and Sally Bisher in a private transaction on Jan. 1.

The main building along 247 Market Street, will be re-branded as ART247. “It of course plays on the address of the building, but also ... the artistic community we all aim to foster here on a daily basis," said Grimmer.

“I hope to grow the artistic community within these walls and bring more people regionally to see the wonderful things happening here,” said Grimmer, 34. “Our resident artists and tenants are the life-blood of our art center. We each bring our own piece of talent to the art community and I want us all to continue to develop further, providing our community and region with a continuous, ever-growing enriching experience in the arts.”

The complex has been closed to the public since the Jan. 1 sale date for renovations and refurbishments. Some changes might not be immediately noticeable, but major ones are in the works -- details Grimmer will release at the grand opening.

For more information, contact Grimmer at 404-9884 or

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