Windsor Art Center transforms freight house into classroom and studios

By Calla Vassilopoulos - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Fri., Aug. 23, 2013
The 610 square foot studio available for rent in the Windsor freight house recen
The 610-square-foot studio available for rent in the Windsor freight house was recently acquired by the Windsor Art Center. Photo by Calla Vassilopoulos.

After approximately 18 months of discussion, the Windsor Art Center has recently acquired another Windsor freight house located in the town center. The building, which was vacant for the last five years, has been transformed into art studios and a classroom, according to Art Center President Wayne Dombkowski.

“We are trying to establish an artist community in Windsor Center,” said Dombkowski. “This is one more step towards that. We are getting all different people coming into the area who are interested in the arts and music, and we're getting them into the center of town.”

For the WAC, acquiring the freight station across from the center has provided them with more space to host and feature local artists. Dombkowski said the old train station was purchased and renovated with funds from a state grant the center received early this year.

Dombkowski said the WAC will welcome new and experienced artists who have an interest in teaching their skill. Beginning Aug. 26 through 30, Jeanne Manzelli, a professor at Tunxis Community College will be instructing 3D design using clay. Students will learn how to use an armature, construct a skull, and apply features to the bone structure to create a 3D portrait.

“We are hoping to have a great schedule of classes where people can go and learn,” said WAC Manager Amanda Pawlick.

As for the studios, there are four spaces, three of which are being rented by painters Cathy Doocy and Nicola Sinclair and jeweler Evelyn Pelati, who happens to be Dombkowski's wife. Spaces are being rented for $12 per square foot for a one–, two– or three-year lease period.

The vacant studio is 610-square-feet, and ideally the WAC would like one person to to rent the space; but if desired, it can be divided amongst two or three people. He also said the basement was available for rent, though it is not currently listed as a rental studio. “The only thing with the basement is, it's a basement,” said Dombkowski. “But it's clean and really nice. It has nine foot ceilings and it could be a great place for a potter to put a wheel, a ceramics person, a glass blower or even someone who does custom woodwork.”

In the building there is also a small kitchen and a common area on the first floor, which artists are welcome to use. Aside from studios and a classroom, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

“The whole building is gorgeous, and we are so excited we have this and are able to offer this to local artists to work and even for people to come and take a class,” said Pawlick.

The WAC was created to support visual and performing artists in the community, and for the last six years they have, with the help of grants, donors, sponsors, members and volunteers. Year-round the center offers musical performances, poetry events, exhibitions, artist talks and children activities for the community. There is no admission charge for the gallery or gift shop, but the center does offer membership discounts on gift shop purchases.

For more information on studio space and/or proposing art classes call 860-688-2528 or e-mail

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