Cultural Center of the Arts born from the fire of the Masonic Temple

ZANESVILLE – Bob Grayson and Rick Buck hope the Y Bridge Cultural Arts Center taking shape in downtown Zanesville will be a year-round attraction for residents and visitors alike, and begin to fill the hole in the community left by the fire that destroyed the Masonic Temple.

“We came out hurt and injured,” following the January fire that displaced dozens of local artists and businesses, Grayson said. The new center, located at 8 Main Street at the eastern foot of the Y Bridge, will be a center for art, education and history, he said. The building is the former home of The Little Barnyard Nursery School.

The space is similar to the Masonic Temple in that Grayson said the management group hopes to create a family among the tenants. The center will focus on arts and artisans rather than being a space for any business to occupy.

So far, 10 tenants, including nine from Temple, have spaces on the ground floor of the building, and Grayson said there’s significantly more space on the top three floors. “The building could probably accommodate another 45 tenants,” he added.

“We want to define this as a cultural and arts hub, rather than just another rental spot in town,” Grayson said. He hopes the building will be a year-round tourist destination. “We want to preserve the craftsmanship, the craftsmen, the things that are made by hand.”

Education will play a vital role in the building, he said, with artists teaching pottery, digital art, painting, stained glass and jewelry, among other crafts. “The role of mentoring and coaching is equally important,” he said.

Grayson envisions a bustling focal point for the downtown arts community, with hands-on opportunities and opportunities to watch artists at work.

The old kitchen area still has a large oven hood, and soon a ceramic oven will perch below. Nearby, a sink provides a place to clean brushes after a painting lesson. At the back of the building, the former gymnasium of Little Barnyard, high brick walls provide a great place to hang consignment artwork, Grayson said. “For people who want to sell art, but don’t want to rent an entire studio.”

Rick Buck, who oversees efforts to bring back the Zane Trace Commemoration, a popular summer event of the 1970s and 1980s, will host a small museum in his ground floor space. Buck collected items from past commemorations, including programs and keepsakes like buttons and crests. He hopes to expand the collection and open the museum space all year round. He also runs a vinyl business in the same space, making window decals and the like.

“I think it will be a good place once we get everything in place and get started,” he said.

The center will welcome visitors for the first time during the First Friday and ArtWalk events. It will celebrate a grand opening in June.

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