Announcing the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts

The Lexington Foundation is pleased to announce the development of two very unique and innovative programs: The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts and Transitions, an apprenticeship program designed to foster college and career success for students with learning differences.

The Lexington Foundation has signed a contract and intends to purchase the former Tetra Tech property and facilities located on 66 picturesque acres at the intersection of Route 30 and Route 30A in Mayfield. “Our new programs will be hosted in the property’s existing buildings which will be updated and renovated in order to accommodate the particular needs of the Paul Nigra Center and the Transitions program,” said Shaloni Winston, Executive Director of Lexington – Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC, Inc. “The Paul Nigra Center’s location is both beautiful and inviting and offers the best of what our region has to offer. We really wanted a Center that would not only attract those from outside our region, but would make our community proud.”

The Lexington Foundation has partnered with the Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Collaborative Learning Center (CLC). Under the guidance of professors, twelve graduate students from SCAD’s interior design, graphic and media design, and arts administration programs have worked together to study the unique needs of The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts and the Transitions program, and then presented ideas about how to best design and adapt the existing space to suit those needs. The professors leading the project, Chance Farago, Professor of Arts Administration, and Meghan Woodcock, EDAC, Faculty, Interior Design, flew in from Savannah, Georgia to visit Lexington and learn about the services and support Lexington provides, meet staff and the individuals supported by Lexington, and visit the proposed property. 

SCAD Professors Chance Farago (far left) and Meghan Woodcock (far right) are greeted at Lexington by Patrick Foote, Flame Lead Singer Michelle King and Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston.

SCAD Professors Chance Farago (far left) and Meghan Woodcock (far right) are greeted at Lexington by Patrick Foote, Flame Lead Singer Michelle King and Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston.

Lexington Deputy Executive Director Dan Richardson, Executive Director Shaloni Winston and Lexington Foundation Executive Director Wally Hart present SCAD Executive Director of External Relations Danny Filson with a painting of the Adirondacks. The piece was painted by Victor Colon who studies in Lexington's Creative Expressions Program and the frame was custom made by Susy Easterly, a local artist and SCAD graduate.

Lexington Deputy Executive Director Dan Richardson, Executive Director Shaloni Winston and Lexington Foundation Executive Director Wally Hart present SCAD Executive Director of External Relations Danny Filson with a painting of the Adirondacks. The piece was painted by Victor Colon who studies in Lexington's Creative Expressions Program and the frame was custom made by Susy Easterly, a local artist and SCAD graduate.

“At SCAD, collaborative learning is a core element of the university’s mission to help prepare students for professional creative careers,” said Josh Lind, director of the CLC. “The opportunity to work with an organization like the Lexington Foundation on a real world, deadline-driven project provides invaluable experience to our students. In just the first few weeks of the quarter, the students have demonstrated significant enthusiasm for this project – especially given how meaningful the result will be for the individuals supported by Lexington.” SCAD’s Collaborative Learning Center’s current and past partners include companies like Adobe, Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A, General Electric and Microsoft. Lexington is proud to collaborate with SCAD and join this esteemed list.

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts was named for Lexington’s former Executive Director of 42 years, Paul Nigra.  It will be a beautiful, year-round arts center which will provide a rich assortment of art and hobby-related classes for emerging artists of all ages and interests including, but not limited to, culinary arts, performing arts, visual arts, quilting, woodcarving and yoga. It will also house premium art venues, host fun family events and provide educational opportunities for the entire community (both the general public and individuals supported by Lexington). The very best of Fulton County’s local talent will teach classes and give presentations at the Paul Nigra Center and noted artists from beyond the county’s borders will visit and share their expertise and talent. The Paul Nigra Center will also proudly offer employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

“Paul Nigra worked tirelessly to support people with disabilities and believed that every person could achieve success and fulfillment. We believe that both the Center for Creative Arts and Transitions program will allow Lexington to celebrate this vision and continue providing exceptional services and programs to the community and individuals with special needs,” added Winston. Nigra founded Lexington’s world-famous rock band, Flame, a group of musicians who refuse to let their disabilities be a barrier to success. The Paul Nigra Center will be a “home base” for Flame, continuing Nigra’s legacy of cultivating and celebrating the artistic endeavors of people of all ages and abilities.

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts will be wholly owned and operated by The Lexington Foundation and will be funded by contributions, grants and fees for services. Lexington ARC funds will not be available for this project as they are dedicated to the care and support of the people Lexington supports. As The Lexington Foundation embarks on a capital campaign in order to pay for the purchase and renovations of the property, we have sought out community leaders and partners to serve on The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts Advisory Board, which will be chaired by local businessman and Johnstown resident Brian Hanaburgh. Design and renovations are expected to be completed for the opening scheduled for June 2015. For more details about the project, please contact Wally Hart, Executive Director of the Lexington Foundation, at (518) 736-3917 or hartw@lexcenter.org.