The Best Nest: Hamilton Center for the Arts

Eliza Graham

Hamilton Center for the Arts (HCA), whose interior was designed by its director Kathy Herold, is a space that was designed to serve many functions with one mission in mind: bringing arts education and enrichment to the Hamilton community. HCA’s new location at 19 Lebanon Street, as of this past fall, has allowed for much greater design freedom as well as easier accessibility to the community. Previously located on the second floor of 10 Broad Street, HCA was not visible from street level and was in a much more confined and divided space. Now HCA is at storefront level in the large, open space that used to be Crowe’s Pharmacy. HCA offers a wide range of classes in fine arts and dance to elementary school children, teenagers and adults, as well as gallery space to supplement Broad Street Gallery. The open space with movable dividers allows for all these activities to be accommodated easily; sometimes a dance class and an art class are taught at the same time, for example.

The front of HCA comprises two sitting areas in front of either side of the front windows, both filled with cozy, colorful couches and bookshelves. Paper snowflakes, twinkling lights and small hanging sculptures adorn the windows; various plants sit on the windowsill. Frida, Kathy’s chocolate lab, sits on a chair covered in colorful textiles next to Kathy’s desk. The new space includes a kitchen, in which Kathy is now able to host Community Dinners every month. In the middle, there is a wide, open space and mirror for dance classes. Large tables in a U-shape and shelves filled with art supplies fill the back of the space, where the fine art classes are held.

HCA has a quirky and Bohemian feel, it is filled with deliberate clutter in the form of art supplies and materials. The walls and shelves are filled with an eclectic mix of posters, children’s artwork, Kathy’s own art and pieces she has collected over the years. HCA has the feel of a haven, Kathy puts on classical music, jazz or samba and young children paint and dance. It is at once lively and relaxing, bright and calm. Thanks to Kathy’s efforts, HCA is an irreplaceable and integral part of the Hamilton community.

1. How does your space reflect your personal style?

 Color, accessibility, eclectic, multicultural, nature. I have a strong interest in the balance of furniture placement. The space is practical, functional, homelike and inviting.

 2. Tell me about one particularly important item in the space.

 The moveable walls and cabinets on wheels are really what make the space work and the amazing light.

3. Where/from whom do you get your inspiration

Nature, yard sales, my home and textiles. I enjoy finding unique fabrics, ceramics and art objects to incorporate and enjoy every day.

Contact Eliza Graham at [email protected]