The Paul J. Schupf Art Center
A lively, distinctive hub for visual and performing arts, film, and arts education
Located in the heart of downtown Waterville on Main Street, the Paul J. Schupf Art Center is a lively, distinctive hub for visual and performing arts, film, and arts education. Developed in partnership with Colby College and Waterville Creates, Schupf Arts is part of a rich and integrated group of arts and cultural institutions throughout Waterville, including the Colby College Museum of Art, the Greene Block + Studios, and the Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts under construction on Colby’s campus. The new center adds to the increasingly diverse venues and programming that will enrich life in the city and help drive economic activity throughout the region.
The Paul J. Schupf Art Center is named in honor of the late Trustee Emeritus Paul J. Schupf, LL.D. ’06, a major art collector and longtime benefactor who altered the landscape at Colby with gifts that support the arts, sciences, and residential life. Schupf’s contributions to Colby include the Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz at the Colby Museum of Art, the Paul J. Schupf Scientific Computing Center, and the Paul J. Schupf Colby/Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Internship.
Schupf Arts—a project by Susan T Rodriguez | Architecture * Design of New York City in collaboration with OPAL / Architecture Research Design of Belfast, Maine—reimagines Waterville’s historic crossroad at Main Street and Castonguay Square. The design emphasizes a blending of the old and new with a unique balance between the building’s interior and its south-facing, double-height atrium. The center’s beautiful glass wall also ties into Castonguay Square, creating a link between programming inside the center and a lively outdoor space for complementary programs and activities.
Drawing inspiration from Waterville’s heritage as a mill town, Rodriguez has included extensive use of industrial material in the project with concrete, steel, corrugated metal, cabling, and brick visible throughout. Additionally, two prominent features, the Castonguay Square overlook and the transparent skywalk to the Opera House, recall the city’s bridges, including the nearby Two Cent Bridge, a footbridge spanning the Kennebec River at the city’s Riverwalk at Head of Falls.
Making “cityscape lanterns” was one of the many art-making activities during the opening weekend
Pottery-wheel demonstrations in the Ticonic Clay Studio
“Light on Main Street,” the inaugural exhibit in the Joan Dignam Schmaltz Gallery of Art
Matthew Cumbie leads children in a joyful dance workshop
Attendees gather around the grand staircase to hear remarks before a ribbon cutting to mark the opening of Schupf Arts
Inside Schupf Arts
The building is home to Waterville Creates and the diverse film, visual, and performing arts programming presented through its divisions—the Maine Film Center, Ticonic Gallery + Studios, and the Waterville Opera House. See events and programming at the link below.
The Joan Dignam Schmaltz Gallery of Art
Schupf Arts allows for the Colby Museum of Art to expand into downtown Waterville. The new gallery will feature exhibitions from the museum’s permanent collection as well as specially commissioned shows from emerging and established artists. The gallery was named in honor of Joan Dignam Schmaltz ’63, herself an artist, thanks to the generosity of a $2-million gift from Dana L. Schmaltz and Kate Enroth.
Bixby Chocolate Café
Opening the Bixby Chocolate Café in Waterville is a first-ever venture for the women owners and operators behind the scenes at Bixby & Co. The mother-daughter team of Kate and Donna McAleer has proven time and again that products made with care by hand using excellent ingredients result in superior taste and deluxe enjoyment. Serving a variety of Bixby Chocolate treats (including chocolates and drinking chocolate, of course), pastries, specialty toasts, and featuring Bixenta Coffee—roasted in Maine by Bixby & Co— this café has something for everyone.