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Visual & Performing Arts at the Kenan Center

Kenan Center Performing Arts

The 153-seat Taylor Theater is actually a converted carriage house, or more accurately, the stable which housed the carriage horses, and its original, rough-hewn beams and ceiling add a unique flavor to the experience.

The Taylor Theater is located in a converted carriage house directly behind the Kenan House at 433 Locust Street. Regular and wheelchair access is from the north side of building. Ample parking is located behind the theater. Click here for directions to the Kenan Center.

Missoula Children's Theatre Residency, October 14-18

MCT returns with a delightful new musical "creatively" based on the classic story, "Rapunzel." In this version, the story is set in France, and Rapunzel needs to call on the help of assorted unicorns, wood elves, and pixies, while she tries to escape the grasp of madame Gothel and thre gremlins. The performance will feature more than 50 local children in the roles. (See below fo audition information.) Performances will take place Saturday, October 18, at 3 & 7 pm. Lockport High School. Admission is $7; children 2 and under are free.

Audition: A group audition will take place on Tuesday, October 13 starting at 4 pm in the Kenan Center Taylor Theater Meeting Room (west of the Arena), and will take approximately 2 hours. Children must be enrolled in K-grade 12 to be considered. Typically many more children try out than there are roles for, but the audition experience, itself, is always fun, especially for younger children who are trying out for the first time. Children must be available for the entire week for rehearsals and both performances on Saturday.

Visual Arts

The Kenan Center House Gallery is actually several rooms on the first and second floors of the Kenan house, specially equipped for hanging art. Gallery visitors are treated to two artistic experiences: the works on view in the gallery exhibits, and the exquisite Victorian decor of the house, itself. Floor-to-ceiling windows, carved mahogany doors, Italian marble floors, and nine ornate fireplaces, are just a few of the fine construction details that make a visit to the House Gallery a memorable experience.

The House Gallery hosts approximately nine fine art exhibits each year that are free and open to the public. Along with exhibits by local and regional artists, the gallery also hosts the Storrs All-High Photo Show, which showcases the photographic talents of high school students from across western and central New York, a biennial juried showcase of regional artists called the Niagara Frontier Art Exhibit, and an annual show of the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society.

In recent years, the Gallery has presented one exhibit each year featuring a "legacy" artist--someone who has produced a large body of work over a lifetime career. Past artists have included painters Catherine Parker and Joseph Whalen; fiber artist Nancy Belfer; and late Lockport artist/teacher Olivia McConnell. In addition, an exhibit of exceptional craft art titled, "Extraordinary Forms," was launched in 2007, and re-emerges every two-three years to showcase accomplished craft artisans, and often, instructors from the top regional universities with studio craft programs.

Visit the Gallery page for a list of past, current and upcoming exhibits.

At least twice each year, a committee of volunteers hosts an intimate "Tea & Tour," that brings artists together with art-lovers in an informal way. At other times, artists, themselves will present walking tours, explaining in detail the process of their work. For upcoming Teas & Tours or other gallery programs, be sure to watch for announcements on the website, Like us on Facebook, or join the Kenan Center E-news list (see homepage--scroll down to bottom, and use the "Subscribe" button).

Craft Art

Craft art is the focus of two of the most popular events on the Kenan Center calendar. Coming the weekend following the Memorial Day holiday, 100 American Craftsmen is truly the start of summer in the Niagara region! While well over a hundred artists apply for this prestigious, juried show each year; only those who meet the high standards of quality, craftsmanship, and originality are accepted. 100 American Craftsmen is also unique in that it takes place completely indoors in the Kenan Center Arena, making it a rain or shine event.

Keep up on news about 100 American Craftsmen at, or follow us on our 100 American Craftsmen Facebook page.

A smaller but equally popular juried craft show takes place just before Thanksgiving each year. The Holiday Gift Show features fifty local and regional craft artists whose work is chosen especially with holiday shoppers in mind. Here you'll find a wide range of items from handcrafted jewelry, porcelain ornaments, paper clay figurines, and hand-bound journals, to exquisite dried and silk floral arrangements, delicious chocolate treats, children's toys, and folk art of all shapes and sizes. The Holiday Gift Show offers visitors a rare opportunity to visit all three of the historic Kenan Center buildings, which are used for exhibit space.

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