- Grove City, Pennsylvania

February 7, 2014

Patron puts art council in place

Fundraising continues, events set

By Felicia A. Petro/Senior Reporter
Allied News

GROVE CITY — Grove City Arts Council’s fundraising campaign got a boost Wednesday when it received a $10,000 donation toward a 2,000-square-foot headquarters on Broad Street.

“We certainly did not expect such a generous gift,” said Sarah Hempel Irani, chair of the council’s board. “We’re all kind of pinching ourselves. It’s not just about money but people in the community saying, ‘Yes, we want this.’”

The council is shooting for $20,000 and has already gained a total of $14,480 with a traditional campaign and more than $515 on Indiegogo – an online fundraising website.

The council will lease 222 S. Broad St., which was just purchased by a “patron of the arts,” Irani said. “He wanted us to be in the space and offered us first dibs.”

The friend wishes to remain anonymous, but closed on the storefront Wednesday.

The council’s fundraising campaign will wrap up on Feb. 9, following an open house at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 at the new location to kick off Art Month for Grove City ArtWorks, its new name. There will be music, light hors d’oeuvres and art at the gathering, where participants can meet the council’s board.

The third annual Signature Drink Night, for artists and patrons of the arts, is set for 7 p.m. Feb. 22. There will be live music, hors d’oeuvres, drinks and art. The cost will be $20 at the door; $15 for members.

From 1 to 4 and 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27 will be the 5th annual Winter Wine Walk in which area wineries give wine samples at downtown businesses and store owners provide snacks.

ArtWorks will also be hosting a winery at the new shop. Tickets will be $20 for the event.

Coming soon is ArtWorks’ first Artology; after-school classes for children at Grove City Christian Academy on Madison Avenue from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Jan. 27, Feb. 24, March 24, April 28 and May 19. Classes, which cost $10 each, will include watercolor, mime, shoebox weaving, self portrait and theatre.

GCCA has housed the council’s Grove City Art and Theater Camp for the past two summers, with kids having two weeks of art activities such as drawing, collage painting, theater, creative writing, hip hop and sculpting.

“They have been generous with their space,” Irani said.

Even when it fills its own space, the council will continue to host its camp and Artology at GCCA, she noted. “We wanted to be connected with the school and all the kids in the community.”

Christy Yates, a council board member and painter, opened her garage on Pine Street in the fall to host Lowland Hum, a band, and a play, Freud’s Last Session, directed by Marianne DiQuartto, a theater professor at Point Park University in Pittsburgh who is a council board member.

Freud also showed at Antioch Overflow Experiment (AOX), a church ministry on Broad Street.

Angie Settlemire of Mimesongs Theatre, and a member of the council, is having a theater intensive for teens and tweens at Mercer Baptist Church that began Jan. 8 and will conclude March 19 with a performance.

“The arts council has been doing events anywhere we can,” Irani said, including Beans on Broad, a coffee shop next to AOX downtown.

Its new home was formerly occupied by Sweet Pickins and “is in pretty good shape,” Irani said.

“We’re going to paint it and have a system to hang paintings so we don’t have to put nails on the walls, and the artists can modify their space according to their needs. We’ll get some furniture, too.”

The new space features a large exhibition area and three studios in the back with natural light, which artists can rent to create and host workshops, Irani said. The far back studio could possibly be split into two sections so there are potentially four studios.

Already, the council has five interested painters for one studio; one will “get signed and moved in by the end of the month,” Irani said. The council also has writers interested in the studios; artists may do anything like photography, mixed media and collage, she added.

“Artists need encouragement.”

The council’s website has tenant applications for the studios. The artists will be picked for their excellence “and make sure they know it’s a creative community and they want to be part of the Grove City community,” Irani said.

She herself is a sculptor and “will probably do some small-scale things” at the building, she said.

Performances are already lined up for the exhibit area; movement, drawing and other types of workshops will be planned, Irani added.

The council was formed after Grow Grove City – formerly called Grove City Revitalization Inc. – approached Irani, 36, to start a panel with her artist friends and patrons. GGC has lead initiatives to cause the downtown to burgeon with activity and patronage.

At the time, “I was trying to get an arts studio downtown with other artists,” Irani said. “We very quickly formed the bylaws and constitution and started running with it. We had a capital campaign and now will have a home base. I think it’s pretty great.”

The non-profit now falls under GGC, which wanted the council to raise $20,000 for arts programs and expenses at its new location, Irani said. “They wanted us to have a cushion before we moved in the building so we can make sure we make our bills.”

The council will always take donations, even when the fundraising campaign ends.

People can also visit its website to see different levels of membership.

“We’re very excited to cultivate the arts in Grove City. It’s an exciting time to be here,” Irani said. “We’re a two-year organization and still getting off the ground but we’re doing pretty amazing things.”

Find out more about donating to the Grove City Arts Council by visiting and learn more about the upcoming Winter Wine Walk at

Published Jan. 18, 2014, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.