Torrington Five Points Visual Arts Center Receives $ 2.7 Million Grant

TORRINGTON – The city’s artistic offering will receive a multi-million dollar boost thanks to a state grant.

Five Points Center for the Visual Arts executive director Judy McElhone has learned that the facility will receive $ 2.7 million in city law funding from the State Department of Community and Economic Development.

“It’s amazing,” McElhone said Monday as she led a tour with state officials who arrived that morning to announce the funding. WTNH News 8 was there to record the small press conference, which was held in the center lobby.


Guests included Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, State Representatives Michelle Cook, D-Torrington and Maria Horn, D-Salisbury, Mayor of Torrington Elinor Carbone, City Planner Martin Connor and Director of Economic Development Rista Malanca .

McElhone and the rest of the Five Points board, staff and volunteers officially purchased the former UConn Torrington campus on University Drive in 2020. The building, with classrooms, library, and offices surrounds a courtyard , which is in the design phase to become a space gallery, sensory garden and outdoor meeting place.

Classrooms have been fitted out for painting, ceramics, photography and children’s lessons, some of which have already been organized. Much of the equipment was donated, including, in the old library, the Robert Dente engraving lab, which was donated by Dente’s widow from her husband’s press.

There will be a big opening party on October 16th.

“We are delighted to receive this money to complete our renovations,” said McElhone. “Nine years ago, Five Points started as the Main Street Marketplace. … Water Street has become a “gallery”. I am very grateful for the support of the city and the state. This is just the beginning.”

She credited her associate director of the center, artist and educator Noel Croce, for her work in turning UConn’s former campus into an arts hub. “When it all started, it was because Noel Croce started it, for something bigger,” McElhone said.

Carbone said the 90-acre property was once a town farm. “It is thanks to Julia Brooker Thompson, who donated this property to the state on the condition that it is used for education,” she said. “After the University of Connecticut’s decision to close the property, we were looking for a use. Judy came to me with her ideas, and they met our needs. There is no better way to do this than through the arts.

“It’s been a top-down process, and I feel very blessed and grateful that it’s happening,” Cook said. “I can’t wait to see what happens next. “

The urban law is open to all municipalities designated as in economic difficulty, to public investment communities or to urban centers. Funding is provided to improve and expand state activities that promote community conservation and development and improve the quality of life of the state’s urban residents.

Five Points Arts includes the center, two galleries in downtown Torrington and Launchpad, an artist-in-residence program. For more information, visit fivepointsarts.org.


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