Polsky paints picture of local Arts Center mission and future

Published 10:37 am Monday, September 26, 2022

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Jessica Polsky, executive director of the Firehouse Arts Center, took the opportunity to speak to the Bainbridge Rotary Club recently about what the Firehouse has to offer.

Polsky briefly mentioned the history of the Firehouse, which began 30 years ago. “We didn’t even have a building 30 years ago, we purchased the old Public Safety building,” she explained. “There have been many years spent renovating that building,” she continued, mentioning the renovations that have been ongoing through the summer.

“Our mission statement is ‘committed to the enrichment of community life through the arts,’ very simple, very easy,” Polsky said. To this end, Polsky stated that the Firehouse aims to offer “art to the community in every way we can.” This includes after-school art classes currently being offered for kids, with future plans for teen classes, and various shows and public events, including the So So Van Gogh painting workshops for adults.

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Polsky also discussed her beliefs on the importance of the arts. “I want to talk about why art even matters,” she said. “I think that it’s easy to kind of overlook it when you’re going through recession… you think ‘Does art really matter to our community?’” To Polsky, it does. “In education, art encourages fine motor skills, neural development, problem solving. It gives the soft skills that do it for an employer. Do your employees get along, can they work together, can they problem solve? They learn that by being creative as a kid.”

According to Polsky, much of the year’s remaining events consist of private rentals, with no art shows scheduled for the rest of the year. “But, our art gallery and shop, which typically has been known as the Kirbo Gallery, will be opening October 20, and it will feature original art… we are no longer the museum on the corner that is never open,” she said.

She also mentioned memberships, complete with various benefits, as a way to sustain, preserve and protect the arts in the community. “You get discounts on classes and workshops, you get priority entrance to any event we have, but mostly you get the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping preserve and protect our history, and investing in our community.”

“We are going to be a business that we want you to come in to at lunch, we want you to bring people when they come visit you to see original art. If you’re looking for some art for your home, we want you to buy some.”