March 28, 2012

DeWitt Building: art and innovation

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By Andy Hirsch

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Aside from being located in the newly renovated DeWitt Building, Bucknell's new Downtown Art Gallery might not appear to have much in common with its upstairs neighbor, the Bucknell University Entrepreneurs Incubator.

"They're actually more similar than you might expect," said Richard Rinehart. As director of Bucknell's Samek Art Gallery, Rinehart will oversee the new gallery. "Both spaces revolve around creativity, innovation and engaging others. And they will both be great resources for the community in their own ways."

Community members will get their first look at the new spaces during a grand opening celebration this weekend. Visitors to the DeWitt Building will be greeted by the gallery, which is located on the ground floor.

Rinehart plans to bring in a variety of work from some of the world's best contemporary artists. He envisions it as a place where students and community members interact, and wants to use it to get people thinking about art in new ways.

"I would love for people to show up after work and spend some time here. Maybe afterward they'll go down to the bookstore and grab a coffee, and when they sit down one of them says to the other, 'You know, I always thought of art as only paintings. But what we saw in there was unusual and beautiful and it really got me thinking.'"

Above the gallery, visitors will find a state-of-the-art entrepreneurs incubator designed to foster start-up business ideas into thriving organizations.

Entrepreneurs will have access to office space, a conference center, lounge area, Internet service and, perhaps most importantly, a connection to Bucknell students and faculty members.

"This is a win all around," said Barbara Martin, manager of the incubator. "This gives our students great access to the entrepreneurial process, and it helps attract businesses to the area which strengthens the vitality of our regional economy. Everyone benefits here."

Along with the new gallery and incubator, Bucknell's Small Business Development Center has relocated to the third floor of the DeWitt Building, which is located directly across from the Campus Theatre.

"I can already feel renewed vibrancy as I walk down Market Street," said Lewisburg Mayor Judy Wagner. "To have these three specialties right in downtown Lewisburg is unique. We are very lucky to have such a great partnership with Bucknell."

The renovated building will be formally dedicated during a private ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, March 30. A public grand opening will be held on Saturday, March 31, from noon until 5 p.m.  

Contact: Division of Communications


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