Located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the Community Arts Center reaches out to a community of 250,000 people, as well as thousands of tourists each year from around the world.
Our mission is to provide an inspiring and creative gathering place where the arts improve the quality of life for everyone. Our vision is to continue to expand our reach of delivering traditional and contemporary art experiences throughout the region, which will enhance the cultural community of artists and art enthusiasts who share the appreciation of art.
Meet the vibrant faces of the Community Arts Center!
J. Ross Stewart is our president, leading an army of passionate people.
The Community Arts Center of Cambria County’s Core Values are embodied through the acronym “CARE” (Community Arts Reach Education), please see the following definitions:
Community- In 1980, the organization’s name, COMMUNITY Arts Center of Cambria County, was chosen to depict a greater impact on the local and regional areas. As a result, we unite artists to one another and the public to the artists, creating a community of connection and exchange.
Arts- In the beginning, a small group of art enthusiasts and artists joined together to establish a structured association of like-minded people who shared in the desire of all arts being available for all people. This mindset is an essential element of the organization to this day.
Reach- Since the organization’s infancy, serving the public has been at the forefront of its operation. This service has evolved to reach diverse cultures, disabled communities, and the underserved, with a continued emphasis on expanding inclusion.
Education- Each and every component of the organization's programming envelops an underlying continuous thread of education through creative means. By providing exploration and learning to exhibitions, events, and classes, multi-levels of education are shared across numerous platforms.
Our newest addition allows us to expand space for classes & workshops, events & rentals, as well as housing the M. Josephine Paul collection & Log Art Theatre productions.
This building hosts our art classes and workshops, Education Department, pottery studio, glass studio, rotating gallery, and is home to the Marcia Ponas Doll Museum.
This historic building is the original home of the Arts Center. It holds our administrative offices, and is home to the Shirley Gaynor Permanent Collection.
Our story begins in 1834, in a two-story log house built by Abram Stutzman. The house became a welcoming center for travelers at the turn of the century. Eventually it was purchased by the Palliser family, who renovated it extensively. The Palliser family willed the property to Westmont Borough, and in 1968, through the generosity of the Westmont Borough Council, the Allied Artists of Johnstown moved into the former Palliser House. Itwas leased rent-free to the Johnstown Arts Associates, a non-profit auxiliary to the Allied Artists, whose membership included artists and community members interested in promoting visual arts in the area. This building provided a place to meet, house records, exhibit works and hold classes. It was the first step in the process of acquiring a permanent home for the Allied Artists.
In order for the building to be used as a public facility, it required a fire escape, steel doors, and other improvements. During the renovation process, the original two-story Log House structure built by Abram Stutzman, was discovered under the pink stucco exterior. Operating out of the Palliser house, the Associates of the Allied Artists, as they were now called, grew andflourished. By 1972, there were 800 members, and the response from the community was extremely supportive. As the vision and scope of the group expanded, it broadened its base of support to include all art endeavors in the area. The Associates of the Allied Artists became the Arts Associates.
In 1975, the Borough of Westmont decided to sell the Palliser family property.The Arts Associates successful fundraising campaign to buy the property was so successful that the asking price of $60,000 was met. An additional$46,000raised restored the Stutzman house to its original hand-hewn chestnut log structure, and renovatedthe interior. In 1978, the new-old Log House was dedicated, and the structure was recognized and registered in Harrisburg as a Pennsylvania Historic Site.
In June of 1980, the name of the organization was changed to the Community Arts Center of Cambria County to reflect an even greater regional interest and involvement in the arts. Interest in the Log House as a venue for the arts was phenomenal.A director was appointed, exhibits and classes were held, and Art Scholarships were awarded. The Log House was used for theatre productions, outdoor concerts, Children's Art Camps, the Log House Arts Festival, the Festival of the Trees, the Holly Bazaar, and provided education and entertainment for the entire Cambria County area and surrounding counties. Through the expansion of activities, the Community Arts Center began to outgrow the Log House, and in 1987, a building project was launched to provide more space. Through the generosity of Martin and Jane Goldhaber, the Jacob Fend Foundation, donations by other individuals, and monies earned by the center's activities, the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center became a reality in November 1988; premiering the facility with the annual Festival of the Trees and Holly Bazaar.
Now, 53 years later, a dream begun by a handful of people interested in promoting the visual arts has become a reality. The Center reaches out to a community of 200,000 people as well as thousands of tourists each year from around the world. The Center continues to move forward under the leadership of Executive Director Angela R. Godin. Our longstanding programming is supported by over $71,000 awarded through Art Scholarships, Arty Parties, Exhibits, Summer Art Camps for Kids, Art Classes, Workshops, Summer Concerts-on-the-Green series, Log House Arts Festival, free art & craft demonstrations, weekly art gatherings, Community Outreach Programs, group tours, Great American Auction, Used Book Sale, Holly Bazaar, Basket Bonanza and the Festival of Wooden Christmas Trees. Other programming includesAmerican Girl Doll Family-A-Fair event, a sensational family experience that brings art and American Girl together. The Community response was overwhelming and due to being sold out, wewillhost two events in the coming year to ensure more of the community has a chance to participate. Other new programming Celebrating a Legacy, Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre, aerial silk performances, and Log Art Theatre productions.
In 2019, the Center is embarked on an expansion project which has been substantially funded through an endowment from Josephine Paul, former Supervisor of Art for the Greater Johnstown School District. The Center plans to honor her legacy by establishing the M. Josephine Paul Family Museum. This 5,500 square foot, $2.6 million addition, connects to the current Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center building and includes a museum, black box theatre, amphitheater, and multipurpose/community room. The 2,771 square foot first floor will fulfill all of Jo Paul’s wishes, including a theatrical performance space. The 2,778 square foot second floor will provide additional space for the Art Education Department, events, and rentals.
The Log House became, in time, a community center where people gathered for fun, games, religious services, and good food. As a circuit-riding Dunkard preacher, Abram Stutzman used the pool for baptisms. Rev. Stutzman’s daughters were married in the spacious parlor.
Since Abram was one of the few in his day who could read and write, his home performed a great service to the community. People came to him for all their needs, from letter-writing to instruction for their children.
The old house and pond stand today much as they did over 150 years ago, surrounded by several acres of grassy land – a nostalgic island in the center of one of Johnstown’s fine residential areas.
The citizens of the Greater Johnstown Area are fully aware of their historic and cultural significance and are dedicated to the preservation of the pool and log house. It is the only true, unspoiled picture we have of pioneer Johnstown, depicting a period in our history when man lived by his hands and the tools he held in those hands.
In the early 1900s – many years before the Community Arts Center of Cambria County was established in 1968 – Christopher Palliser, a “well-respected” farmer of British descent, purchased the log house and pond. (Nearby Christopher Street and Palliser Street are named for him.) Mr. Palliser first stocked the pond with 15-inch California brown bass until they were eventually eliminated by muskrats and one Jimmy Gore who apparently enjoyed nighttime fishing.
The Palliser family renovated the log house extensively, covering the exterior with stucco. The Palliser family willed the property to Westmont Borough, and in 1968, through the generosity of the Westmont Borough Council, the Johnstown Arts Associates moved into the former Palliser House. It was leased rent-free to the Arts Associates, the group of artists who formed the non-profit organization in 1968 to promote the arts by providing space for artists to exhibit their work and the visual arts in the area. This building provided a place to meet, house records, exhibit works and hold classes. It was the first step in the process of acquiring a permanent home for the Allied Artists.
In order for the building to be used as a public facility, it required a fire escape, steel doors, and other improvements. During this process, the original two-story log house structure built by Abram Stutzman, was discovered under the pink stucco exterior. It was destined to remain hidden there while the building was owned by Westmont Borough.
Accessibility is available upon request for those with disabilities or special needs issues. Please give us as much advance notice as possible to accommodate your needs.