|Arts Venue to Open in Historic Opera House|
Arts Venue to Open in Historic Opera House
Published: 05:42 p.m., Thursday, June 10, 2010
BETHEL -- For the first time in 30 years the public can visit the downtown's historic Opera House, where the second floor now houses the Center for New Media and the Arts.The art gallery offers an array of services and will officially open Saturday.
The events will begin at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour and live music. Visitors may look at artwork and mingle with artists, workshop instructors, and the center's founders, creative director Stephen Snow and senior partner Brian Montague.
Snow and Montague located the space last fall and have sanded floors, painted and renovated the 2,200-square-foot loft, which has 15-foot ceilings and 9-foot windows.
The Opera House was built in 1848 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
P.T. Barnum had a silent movie theater there. It also housed a vaudeville stage and a roller skating rink, and at one time served as the Bethel High School gym. The first floor was once a hat factory, and when it was a billiard hall Mark Twain frequented it, according to Snow.
"It is an important space to the town and we feel an obligation to treat it with respect. There are people who live in Bethel and have never been inside. We want people to rediscover this historic place," Snow said.
More recently, the second floor housed a photography studio.
The Center for New Media and the Arts will offer video production services, a sound stage, photo restoration, film and media transfer and duplication services, Web services and a gallery.
In addition, there will be workshops, including filmmaking, acting, guitar, digital music making, and audio recording; poetry and literature readings; acoustic music jams; film screenings; and dance recitals.
It will also be used for rehearsal space and a private and public events hall. In the fall, there will be Connecticut Film Festival screenings. Charity events will take place there, as well, Snow said.
The Center for New Media and the Arts is at 186 Greenwood Ave. For more information, call (203) 797-1786.