On Centre: Around Bellefonte | Art museum looks for funding to expand programs

mmorgan@centredaily.comOctober 15, 2013 

Patricia House has brought the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County a long way in the past six years.

The Allegheny Street building has six galleries, runs an after-school program for children, holds summer camps and sees about 250 people roll through on gallery-opening weekends.

But she’s not ready to say she’s satisfied.

“I like to celebrate imagination, so for me it’s never finished,” she said.

House would like to see more than 400 people come for show openings and at least 200 for normal weekends. She wants continued expansion for summer camps and after-school programs, and eventually would like to open another building.

To accomplish her goals, she needs to raise money.

The museum is running a fundraising campaign until the end of the year that comes with a private donation match up to $50,000. House said she has raised about $10,000 so far, but she will start an even stronger push as the campaign moves forward.

House is no stranger to fundraising efforts.

She worked a fundraising campaign in the early days of the museum to get it started. People told her the idea wouldn’t work in Bellefonte, and she’d be better off trying it in State College.

But House decided she wouldn’t let the 9 miles separating the two towns be the determining factor. She wanted to open it in Bellefonte.

“I decided that it was really unfortunate that in such a beautiful, Victorian town there really wasn’t much to see in terms of art,” she said.

Now, half of her 250 members and 82 artists are from State College.

House and her volunteers will knock on doors and proactively look to get donations to keep the little project rolling. If she is able to get all the money, it would shore up plans for the after-school program and the summer camps and make sure the gallery stays stocked month after month.

Some galleries are changed every month and some every two months. Most feature local art, but the first-floor gallery always features something from outside the area. It is stocked with Haitian art including metal and sequin work.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so online at bellefontemuseum.org.

Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.

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