The River Valley Arts Center will provide community spaces in a former church


Now the Rover Valley Arts Center, a community-driven arts center and event installation, will fill the space.

Founder Michelle Martinetti, from Wappingers Falls who now lives with her family in Poughkeepsie, was inspired by what she saw as an opportunity in the void – both a vacant space in a historic building and a community that doesn’t have a resource like this yet.

“There are a lot of art programs, music programs, entertainment venues etc. locally – but the idea of ​​having it all under one roof was very exciting and the basis of the idea,” Martinetti said.

Martinetti’s background is primarily in marketing and fundraising and nonprofit development, but his passion for the arts and starting this project also stem from his early love for playing musical instruments and, more later, to teach them as well as a behind-the-scenes involvement in theatrical productions. .

She hopes this space in the village of Wappingers will help revitalize the area and attract more people, thereby raising other businesses nearby and giving the area back a community hub, especially after the hardships inflicted on small businesses. following the pandemic.

“The village of Wappingers has experienced serious tragedy in recent years and is on the cusp of this incredible revitalization,” said Martinetti. “The remaining businesses and the multitude of new ones coming in are really helping the village become what it deserves to be. I hope that with the River Valley Arts Center we can play a role in this revitalization, bringing people to the village who will then go to other local establishments to eat, drink and shop.

In preparation for an opening in December, Martinetti is now working with contractors to complete the renovations.

Michelle martinetti

While the building’s footprint will not change, the old church school annex will soon be fully equipped with 12 new, separate spaces that will provide community organizations and businesses with the ability to host classes or events. in person, even if they don’t. permanent physical spaces.

“We are improving and beautifying the spaces – new bathrooms, floors, walls, ceilings, lighting, improved HVAC and ADA access,” said Martinetti. “We will have around 12 unique spaces in the old school annex of the property. They include 10 studios of different sizes, a community conference room and a commissary kitchen.

Studio spaces range from 140 to 1,275 square feet, offering equipment ranging from tables, chairs, whiteboards and coffee makers to pianos, desks and mirrors and a bar for dance lessons.

They can be rented for long term use of three months or more, monthly or for one time use, on an hourly basis.

The kitchen includes commercial and residential gas ranges and ovens, prep tables, a handy commercial refrigerator, three-compartment sink and microwave. Kitchen usage rates are based on an hourly price based on a member’s chosen three-month membership level, or can be rented by the hour or day for non-members.

The arts center is for individuals or groups with a focus on music, performing arts, visual arts, yoga, culinary arts, photography, writing, language arts, robotics and STEM to use its resources, although it is open to groups or individuals of any kind. , and could be a boon to many who would otherwise not be able to afford a space to host programs.

“We have a lot of people interested in using the space as a long-term resident who wouldn’t otherwise be able to host their programs because they can’t afford the overhead of owning their own space,” Martinetti said.

So far, many micro and small businesses and local programs have committed to using the River Valley Arts Center once it opens, including Barre with Kelly, Bodhi Yoga, DMulcahy Photography, Mindful Yoga with Liz, Mindfulness with Jess, Personal Plates and Robotics4U who are all listed as residents of the center on its website.

Martinetti also said the arts center also plans to host some of its own in-house programs.

Additionally, the church itself will soon become an event space affiliated with the River Valley Arts Center, called Sanctuary Hall.

The 2,100 square foot room will accommodate 175 people seated or 350 people standing, for events of community, corporate and private interest, from theatrical productions to cocktails and fundraising.

Sanctuary Hall will open later in 2022, although a specific date has yet to be set.


William E. Bennett

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