Five Points Center for the Visual Arts purchases shuttered UConn Torrington Campus

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Five Points Center for the Visual Arts purchases shuttered UConn Torrington Campus

Creation of world class contemporary art center in Northwest Connecticut will change the face of the region.

In Spring 2018, under the direction and vision of founder Judith McElhone, the Five Points Center for the Visual Arts submitted a letter of interest to purchase the shuttered University of Connecticut Regional Campus located on University Drive in Torrington, CT.  On Tuesday, June 30th, the transaction to purchase the UConn Campus was completed, and the grand vision of creating a world class contemporary art center in the hills of Northwest Connecticut is officially underway. 

The newly acquired facility includes a well-maintained 30,000 square foot building and 90 acres.  The transformation of the property will create a unique sustainable multi-level visual arts center and adjacent art park that will significantly strengthen the social fabric and economic growth of the region. At capacity, the center is expected to generate 20 new full-time positions and 15 part-time teaching and staff positions. 

The campus acquisition, coupled with the organization’s prominent presence in downtown Torrington, will solidify Five Points as among the most progressive arts organizations in New England. “With the purchase of the campus facility, we will intensify our efforts to encourage exploration among cutting-edge artists while opening new avenues of community interaction”, said Judith McElhone, founder and executive director. 

“In response to the impact of COVID-19, the immediate goal is to create a safe welcoming outdoor space for our community of artists, friends, neighbors and visitors, said McElhone. Plein – air painting, drawing marathons, concerts and outdoor movies can provide  much-needed sanctuaries for healing and creating. Seldom has the world needed these collaborations more than today.”

Going forward, the main campus building will be renovated to include several fully equipped artists workspaces including a Painting studio, Sculpture studio, Ceramics studio, Textile studio, Print studio, Bio-Lab, Digital Lab, Darkroom and courtyard sensory garden. The existing 245- seat auditorium and commercial kitchen will allow for large indoor gatherings and the 90-acre art park will showcase sculptures created by regional, national and international artists.

One of the most critical aspects of the new center will be the envisioned Lynchpin Program.  The innovative program will be designed as a think tank where established and emerging artists will have the opportunity to share ideas, experiment and explore new directions. Think tank artists will be selected for their interest in issues impacting everyday life. A major focus will be planet sustainability and the environment.  

The actor and musician, Kevin Bacon, is the honorary chair of the new Arts Center’s fundraising campaign. The monies raised combined with various grants will cover needed renovation, facility and program needs. 

About Five Points Center for the Visual Arts

Located in a historic downtown building in Torrington, CT, Five Points Center for the Visual Arts is a non-profit contemporary institution that grew out of the Torrington Arts and Culture Commissions 2012 initiative, Art Space Torrington.  It began as a temporary 840 square foot summer storefront gallery, located at the corner of Main and Water Streets.  The success of the temporary space quickly led to the founding of a permanent Five Points Gallery, as a dedicated space to exhibit works by prominent regional, national and international contemporary artists.  

Today, Five Points Center for the Visual Arts is a multifaceted contemporary art initiative which includes:

  • Five Points Gallery, a 3800 square foot space composed of three adjacent galleries, prominently located in downtown Torrington, CT
  • A consortium with Connecticut based Hartford Art School – University of Hartford, University of Connecticut College of Art and Northwestern Connecticut Community College where interns learn professional gallery management and receive training as docents
  • The Five Points Gallery, Harford Art School Launchpad Initiative – a pilot incubator program to support emerging artist and recent graduates of the Hartford Art School through affordable studio space. In addition to workspace, the initiative offers a mentorship program, a strong artist community and a Five Points biennial exhibition opportunity.
  • Five Points Annex – a community pop-up gallery and exhibition space managed by the Launchpad artist, located two doors from Five Points Gallery in Torrington, CT.  In addition to presenting exhibition opportunities, the Launchpad artists host workshops and other community related arts programs.  
  • Lecture Series – Five Points Gallery presents an annual lecture series featuring influential members of the national art works.  Past speakers include Ann Temkin, MoMA’s chief curator for painting and sculpture; Milton Esterow, editor and publisher of ARTnews; Agnes Gund, President Emerita of MoMA, and celebrated painters Eric Fischl, Robert Berlind and Maureen Gallace.

For press inquiries and further information, please contact Judith McElhone, Executive Director and Founder – jmcelhone@fivepointsgallery.org; 860-618-7222.