7-24-2020 – HUB Station continues with expansion

Posted on: July 27th, 2020 by admin


July 23, 2020



By Garrett Stell

Jul 23, 2020 8:52 PM


The coronavirus pandemic might be keeping most visitors out of the HUB Station in Hudson, but organizers there say that it has provided an opportunity to accelerate renovations, paving the way for more studios, shops, classrooms and a museum dedicated to the works of one of Hudson’s most famous natives.


Three former classrooms in the east wing of the HUB Station building have been roped off as the future home of the Mitford Museum, a 1,300-foot space dedicated to the life and writings of Hudson native and bestselling author of the Mitford series of novels. Karon attended Hudson Elementary School, in the same building that now houses the HUB Station on Cedar Valley Road.


Kathy Carroll, chair of the HUB Station Steering Committee, said that the new museum will double as a way to recognize Karon in her hometown and also amplify the HUB Station’s mission as a regional center for connecting the arts and business.


“Her museum is going to transform the life in this place,” Carroll said as she gave a tour of the newly-renovated east wing. “(Karon) has such an amazing fan base and we are thrilled to have her back home. We believe it will attract large groups of people who will want to see those things that were important to her in her life and career.”


And while Carroll expects visitors to come for the Mitford Museum, she hopes that the host of other features at the HUB will provide more reasons for them to stay. The former school building currently serves as the home for the Hudson Dinner Theater, as well as the Red Awning Gallery, a retail outlet for local artists. Renovations during the spring and summer have opened up the east wing and second floor of the building, thanks entirely to fundraising from the steering committee and private and corporate donations.


“This is all from fundraising money,” Carroll said. “No tax dollars whatsoever have been used for this. We receive donations from businesses that have ties to Hudson as well as residents both in and out of town.”


Ann Smith, a member of the Hudson Board of Commissioners, said that none of the work in the HUB Station would have been possible without the work of the steering committee, in terms of fundraising and providing guidance during the ongoing renovations.


The first floor of the building will focus on retail and the Mitford Museum, Smith said, adding that the spaces are now fully-booked and new small shops are planning to move in: a jewelry, crafts and clothing store run by Bill and Angie Warren of The Gold Mine Fine Jewelry & Gifts, an art supply store and even a massage therapy practice.


The official opening dates for the new shops are still undecided due to delays caused by COVID-19, but a tentative grand opening for the Mitford Museum is scheduled for late June 2021. But Janice Woodie, who manages the HUB building, said that the unexpected blessing of an empty building has allowed construction to carry on unimpeded.


“There would be no way to get it all done if everything had still been going on inside,” she said, referring to the regular art shows, theater performances and other events held at the HUB.


While downstairs rooms will be largely geared towards general visitors, the second floor is being prepared as a have for artists of all kinds — whether already secure in their trade or still in training. There are studios for rent in many of the old classrooms upstairs, while a suite of rooms has been reserved for a future arts academy that Carroll hopes will combine theater, performing arts and music of all kinds.


“We hope this becomes an artist’s Mecca!” she said, pointing to wall-length mirrors that are to be hung in an open space to serve ballet, theater and music instructors.


Smith said that part of the importance of restoring the HUB and filling the rooms with new life is a desire to carry on the heritage of the old school and the memories of those who attended, which shows through the number of donors who have purchased naming rights to classrooms.


“Every classroom on this floor has been sold to people who have a direct connection to this building or that particular classroom,” she said. “The work of the steering committee has just shown the love for this building, what it has meant and continues to mean to so many people.”


Reporter Garrett Stell can be reached at 828-610-8723.

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