As she enters her fourth season with the Hastings Arts Center, owner Sarah Lockwood says her organization has expanded its offerings beyond the niche she thought it would fill.
When Lockwood and her husband Travis purchased the former site of Guardian Angels Catholic Church in December 2014, their vision focused on providing Hastings a convenient spot for music lessons and recitals, Lockwood said. The center has since added an art gallery with exhibits, concerts from local and touring artists, and educational programming in visual arts and music for over 100 students. This Saturday, the center kicks off its 2018-19 season with a donations-only concert by Juilliard School graduate and Hastings native Colton Peltier.
"The building ... provided us more than we would have ever dreamed of," Lockwood said. "It's really an amazing space."
This season, Lockwood said she wanted to focus on inviting more artists from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds to participate in her programming, especially her second annual "Coffee Concert" series.
Funded through the Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council for the second time this year, the series consists of free concerts by local and traveling artists about once or twice a month, usually on Tuesday mornings.
Lockwood says she plans to have 12 Coffee Concerts this year. The selection so far includes highlights like this past week's Guzheng musician Jarrelle Barton, who plays at the Ordway in December, and a concert featuring music and prose from the end of the first World War in late November.
This season's art gallery will feature local painters ranging from established professionals to beginners. Art teachers from the Pinecrest, Kennedy and Christa McAuliffe elementary schools will be submitting students' work for an exhibit that launches Oct. 25, Lockwood said.
"It's not huge, but we've had so many interesting things come up," she said. "(The art exhibit has) local artists and other artists that are touring a show ... We also feel like we are the spot for a new artist to show their work, too."
The center also hosts about a dozen instructors that teach lessons in piano, voice, clarinet and various string instruments, Lockwood said.
"I always tell people, inquire about the instrument even if you think we might not have it," Lockwood said. "I could at least start a waiting list for that instrument."
Even having two to four people would merit finding a teacher, Lockwood said.
She added: "I need to find a ukulele teacher ASAP."
Oil painting and early childhood music classes are also available throughout the season.
Lockwood also rents the venue out for weddings or events by area organizations.
"It's just a really neat space, and we are happy to be the stewards of it right now," she said.
The proceeds from this weekend's concert will go towards paying off loans for a 1929 Steinway piano Lockwood and her husband purchased for the center in 2016.
"Steinways are so different from each other. They're all very unique," Lockwood said. "It responds so well to each player. I've had pianists just be like, this piano is amazing! And I'm like, yes, I think it has a soul!"
Lockwood said she picked the piano from a selection of Steinways at a shop in her home state of Indiana.
"These pianos were from the golden age of Steinways. They were just built in just a way that you can't replace that sound today," she said.
If you go:
What: Hastings Arts Center "Keys to Success" fundraising concert featuring Colton Peltier
Where: 216 E. Fourth St., Hastings
When: Saturday, Oct. 6. Cocktail hour at 6 p.m., concert at 7 p.m.
Cost: Free; donations accepted