Not long ago, the former Dunn Builders and Supply buildings in Catskill were hollowed-out shells laced with asbestos that had to be painstakingly removed. Today, the Lumberyard Center for the Performing Arts is the talk of Catskill and the toast of the nation’s artistic community. That’s right, the nation. Not bad for the little ol’ village on the creek.
Lumberyard had a premiere for the ages Saturday. Actor Alan Cumming (the “X-Men” franchise, TV’s “Instinct”) hosted the gala grand opening and the night’s performance came courtesy of actor/dancer Savion Glover. The icing on the cake was an state grant award of $1 million to Lumberyard to help offset a $5 million loan to get the center off the ground. All in all, it was a big weekend.
State Sen. George Amedore Jr., R-46, obtained the funding for the space, which is operated by a performing arts group formerly known as the American Dance Institute. “Pretty exciting, big news for Greene County as well as the village of Catskill,” Amedore said Friday. “It’s an economic grant that will help with a revitalization for Catskill.”
Under the leadership of Adrienne Willis and many others, Lumberyard stands as one of Catskill’s greatest achievements. It means more than simple revitalization. It’s a cornerstone development that reaches far beyond the village in terms of business, art and entertainment. Remember, performers like Alan Cumming and Savion Glover don’t come to Catskill every day. With Lumberyard, luminaries in all the arts could be in town every week.
Thousands of dance, music, film and drama lovers should flock to Lumberyard each year as the level of performances gain in quality and quantity. When the American Dance Institute announced from its Baltimore, Maryland, headquarters that its officials decided to make its new home in Catskill, the news was greeted by puzzlement and excitement.
Saturday, Lumberyard announced with authority that it is here to stay. If Alan Cumming and Savion Glover are the opening act, there is no telling what Lumberyard can accomplish in the future. It can be the realization of an artistic and commercial dream, not just for Catskill, but the rest of the world.