Phipps renovation rendering

A rendering shows what The Phipps lobby will look like once construction is complete. The construction work will last through the summer. Submitted photo courtesy of The Phipps

HUDSON -- The Phipps Center for the Arts will have a new look this fall. 

The center is closed for the summer as it undergoes renovations.

The work is a continued part of the 2013-2014 capital campaign “Staging our Future,” Executive Director Darby Lunceford said. The first part of that campaign included adding the sign in front of The Phipps, modernizing the galleries, creating the ceramic studio and converting theatrical lighting.  

Now, The Phipps is ready to take on the second stage of that campaign. Finding the right time wasn’t easy. The work requires closing the building for three months, meaning no programming could be scheduled. For the past several years, The Phipps has been scheduled about 50 out of the 52 weeks in a year. That is until COVID-19 hit. 

In December the center found it was time to move forward with the project in the summer. 

“We still didn't know what was truly going to happen,” Lunceford said. “And I think at this point, everybody’s still a little timid with COVID so I think it was the right choice.” 

The renovations, focused mainly on the welcome lobby, are about contemporizing the space, Lunceford said. 

The welcoming area will be opened up, removing walls and columns, to give people a better understanding of the space and how to access it. The ticket counter will be opened up into a welcoming area, as tickets are only part of what The Phipps does, Luncford said. 

“We do a lot of things here, it’s multifaceted and you don’t always know where to go,” he said. “So it was really an attempt to help somebody get into the building and see where they would go.” 

Lunceford said he is most looking forward to the impact on this area. 

“Having a building that feels welcoming and gives you an understanding of where you go and how you flow through,” he said. 

Further into the building, the open space just outside the gallery entrance will be redesigned with furniture to serve as a lounging place for people. 

“The more people that are in the building, the better,” Lunceford said. 

The design will work to make better use of The Phipps patio as well, and the view it has over the river. 

A kitchen area will be opened up to use as an area to serve refreshments. Together the whole area will be another usable space for The Phipps as well as visitors and community members. 

Other areas in the building will have technology updates, including the River Room, which will be adapted for hybrid meetings to fit the impact of the pandemic. 

Overall, the new center will feel contemporary and accessible. The Phipps focused not just on cosmetics, but on creating a building that is functional into the future. 

Preparing for the work has gone quickly since December. 

The new building is set to be complete in September, with an opening weekend on Sept. 17. 

“It’s going to look dramatically different,” Lunceford said. “I think it’s going to feel contemporary, we hope that it will be a space that feels futuristic, and doesn't get old as we age.” 

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