Friday, March 12, 2010


Wendy Skinner
As proprietor of Signs & Wonders Studio in Belmont, New York, Wendy Skinner is known mostly for her sign work distinguishing businesses, entrances to villages, churches, schools, and homes throughout Allegany County and the Twin Tiers areas. Wendy also is an award-winning pen-and-ink, and colored-pencil artist, with art in public and private collections throughout the United States. Her latest work in progress is the creation of The Fountain Arts Center.

The Fountain Arts Center at The Belmont
In 2000, The Fountain Arts Center, Inc., purchased the former Belmount Hotel to create an arts center, and to provide opportunities in the arts. The first priority of the Fountain Arts Center (a not-for-profit organization) is to bolster the moral of the community by saving the building in which its organization is housed. This being done in phases, as funding allows. The blighting influence of some deteriorated sections of the structure are slowly but steadily being replaced.
Private investment has led to the transformation of two commercial storefronts in the facility into an artist studio, sign shop, and gallery. New York Main Street Grant Funding, matched by private donations, and local grant awards has helped to complete the rehabilitation of a third storefront into a performance/class/seminar area for arts awareness. Future grant funding and development is geared toward addressing structural needs into other areas of the facility, while providing arts education in completed areas.

Since the opening of the Community Room in 2001, The Fountain Arts Center has hosted dozens of solo and group shows for regional artists, ranging from photography to fiber arts, colored pencil to oil painting, ceramics, and metal sculpture. With partial funding from the New York State Council for the Arts Decentralization Grant, it has offered scores of classes through its Family Enrichment Series, Visual Artists Workshops, and Summer Arts Programs for Youth. The establishment of The Net in 2006, added a performance and music education venue for the center as well.

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