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Former church now an arts center

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Albany/HV: Former church now an arts center
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There's a new arts center in Amsterdam, and despite some tough economic times, they're looking to be a success story. Our Vince Gallagher has more.

This building on on East Main Street in Amsterdam, originally a church, is now known as "Creative Connections."

Mayor Ann Thane said, "About a year ago we were contacted by St. Mary's Hospital. They had the building for about 30 years, and they said we're leaving the building, and by the way, you own it."

So, with that ownership, city officials decided on a new arts center. On opening night, lectures were already on the schedule. For example, a local filmmaker talked about his latest project, "Life On the Run."

Filmmaker Roger Wyatt said, "Which is a film that asks the question, why do art? And the short answer is because you must if you're an artist."

And the idea is to open up opportunities for the aspiring artist. They are planning on offering workshops, demonstrations, and art-in-education programs.

Mayor Thane said, "We've got dance, we've got theater, we've got the visual arts, we've got music, and hopefully over the next few months we'll be unfolding classes for all ages."

Times have been tough for many art organizations these days, but things might be looking good for Creative Connections, especially if art "supply" meets artist "demand."

Mayor Thane said, "Actually there's a huge thirst in our community for recreational and cultural opportunities for families and kids and seniors, so this has been a really wonderful new enterprise for the city of Amsterdam."

Filmmaker/producer Heidi Philipsen said, "Anytime you get an opportunity to reach out to the community and to get to know them better and to find out what they want as an audience, to tell them the stories that you've put together as an artist, you can ever walk away from that."

Although some areas of Amsterdam have seen economic improvement, city officials admit it can still be a tough go for a new arts center. For now, they're looking to create one day at a time.

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