Greensburg Arts Center
Greensburg Art Club, A short history…
In 1929 a small, dedicated group of Greensburg artists began meeting in each other’s homes to paint still-life paintings and to discuss and critique the art works they created. They called themselves the Kinderhook Group, and they flourished under the tutelage of Alex Fletcher, a well known local professional artist. The Kinderhook Group grew in membership and scope, and was incorporated as the Greensburg Art Club in 1952, a non-profit educational organization. The purpose of the Greensburg Art Club, to promote knowledge and understanding of the fine arts, was fulfilled through instruction and encouragement to artists, students at all levels of experience, and all other persons with fine art interests.
In 1955 the organization bought the historic, two room public school on Todd School Road, east of Greensburg. In honor of its first mentor, the Art Club named the school the Alex Fletcher Memorial Art Center.
During the next few decades many art classes, workshops, and art programs were developed and taught at the Art Center, while at the same time ties were extended into the community. An art curriculum for the Westmoreland County Community College began at the Center, then was transferred to the College when their facility had room for the classes. For many years the Greensburg Art Club exhibited their popular Member’s Annual Show at the Westmoreland Museum of (American) Art, drawing large crowds of viewers. The tremendously successful Art and Heritage Festival, which draws tens of thousands of visitors each July at Twin Lakes Park, began as a small art festival in the
backyard of the Art Center.
Today the Greensburg Art Club members enthusiastically continue to operate the Art Center (sometimes referred to as the Greensburg Art Center) under its original charter. Classes, open studios for figure drawing and still-life painting, all-media open studio time for individual work, informative programs and workshops, and art exhibitions are scheduled regularly throughout the year. Members and friends of the Art Club donate many hundreds of volunteer hours each year to the multitude of tasks required to keep the Center active and running smoothly. Funds to operate the Center come from memberships, commissions from exhibitions, donations from supporters, and from the sale of note cards reproduced from members’ works.
The decades long relationship of the Greensburg Art Club with former member, the late William B. Rowe Jr., resulted in his memorial gift to the GAC for the creation of the recently completed Rowe Gallery annex to the Alex Fletcher Art Center [located one block past the Pleasant Unity Exit ramp from the Rt 30 E bypass from Greensburg), Since its inception 80 years ago in the Kinderhook section of town, Greensburg Club has always been a vital part of the Westmoreland County art scene. In 1955,26 years after its humble beginnings, the organization was able to purchase the old Hempfield Township Todd School which became the Alex Fletcher Memorial Art Center which housed member meetings, classes, workshops, and art events. As years passed, the old one-room brick schoolhouse was no longer able to accommodate the growing permanent collection .or meet the needs for an ongoing exhibition space for its members. With this dream finally realized through Mr. Rowe’s generosity, artist members will be guaranteed year round exposure. Supplemental exhibits will also be planned to broaden the scope of artists through juried shows and special guest and group events. Additionally, the lower level of the annex creates an expanded area for ceramic and sculpture classes, allowing the original structure to serve as a 2D studio and meeting room. The inaugural exhibit will focus on art from the genesis of the club with such historical names as Alex Fletcher, Martha Morgan, and Sunny Pollins. Past and present members, along with teachers from the club’s growing years through today, and other GAC associates will be featured along with the newest young faces representing the future of the club. It is the hope that the Greensburg Art Club with increasingly serve the needs of the artist community and, likewise, those who form our audience and support our efforts.