Last Friday, we cut the ribbon and opened the doors for the final unveiling of the Catherine Houghton Arts Center. It was a year ago that the vote was cast and the decision made that The White Mountain School was in need of a dedicated arts center, a place designed for our students to draw, paint, dance, sing, and explore the arts in any way they can. “The trustees of our School had a vision:,” said Head of School Tim Breen at the ribbon-cutting,” recognizing the importance and value of an arts center for the School and the local community. This really began 2 years ago, with Catherine Houghton – Kitty – leading the way to help revitalize our music program. And it grew into the building you see here today.”
And how it’s grown. In just the past six months, the arts center went from a hole in the ground, to a free-standing structure, to a beautiful, modern, functional building that houses an art studio, several music rooms, and two dance studios, while still keeping our School’s mission of sustainability in mind. Thank you to architect and past parent Will Ruhl, BensonWood, and the local contractors who helped make our arts center what it is today.
Perhaps no one is happier to see the Catherine Houghton Arts Center standing today than Kathy Kohatsu, owner of Creative Edge Dance Studio. As part of her studio’s long-standing partnership with WMS, she’s moving Creative Edge into the arts center and drawing local dancers to campus while teaching our students. “It is with such pride and gratitude that I stand here today welcoming you to this beautiful building, so filled with potential. Aptly named for vibrant Kitty, whom I had the pleasure of sharing one lengthy conversation in which she infected me with her zest for life, her clear feeling that dreams should be pursued, and more specifically, her personal interest in the Creative Edge – White Mountain School partnership. This past month we have enjoyed being here, creating here, and dancing here. We cannot wait to explore the potential of this building, of this White Mountain School partnership, and of this dream.”
The ribbon was cut by Will Ruhl and Board of Trustees Chair Barbara McFadden Sirna, and students, alumnae/i, trustees, and local families flowed in to explore our new, modern, beautifully designed creative space. Students danced, performed in the music rooms, and crowded into the art studio to show off their drawing skills. Even on that opening night, it was clear that the Catherine Houghton Arts Center is going to be a cherished and beloved part of our School for many years to come.