Essay: What is Cobblestone Arts Center?
The big old brick house that stands on 1622 state Route 332 in Farmington has seen many changes over the course of its 150-plus years of existence. Built as a family farm, it flourished as early Farmington was established. The property changed families and its purpose over time as the town grew and needs changed. The dirt road to Rochester is now a busy divided highway and the former farm is not a home, but houses a family of staff and students that are still thriving and working toward tangible goals.
Now known as the Cobblestone Arts Center, the house has been modified and additions have been built. Barns, outbuildings and an orchard have been replaced by an art room, lunch room and music room and most recently a small theater as well as a bus barn at the rear. This former farm has been reincarnated as Cobblestone’s program for persons with disabilities, and has grown and changed to accommodate about 100 students. This enlarged space is a hive of activity as adult students participate in arts-based classes.
In classes, students express themselves through the arts, a medium that encourages self-expression, as an outlet to manage thoughts and feelings for emotional well-being. It is an important element that allows them to be seen, heard and validated as a member of the community. In this comfortable, welcoming space, creativity is encouraged, personal goals are achieved and friends are made.
Our students all live in Greater Rochester and the majority attend live classes, but there are many that tune in from home. While modifications had to be made because of the pandemic, we continue to offer a warm and friendly atmosphere, albeit 6 feet apart with masks. Our theater is dark, but we hope to once again offer live theater, music and dance companies to our stage. Our art gallery is still open. Cobblestone Arts Center continues to grow and change as a new multi-use space, lunch room and classroom will be added in the spring.
For more information about Cobblestone Arts Center for persons with disabilities, fundraisers, community offerings, space rental and art gallery, please visit cobblestoneartscenter.com or call 585-398-0220.