Former U.S. Post Office at 935 N. Kansas Ave. donated to NOTO
Artist Michelle Leivan may have said it best Saturday morning as she attended an open house for a building that someday soon will house the North Topeka Arts Center.
“It gives the NOTO District a gateway to the area,” Leivan observed. “It’s a beautiful building, and it will be a fantastic place for artists to work and play.”
The new arts center will be located in a former U.S. Postal Service building at 935 N. Kansas Ave.
A local benefactor purchased the building, then donated it to NOTO. The donor’s name will be revealed at a grand opening, slated for sometime this coming fall.
Visitors at Saturday morning’s open house, which took place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., got a sneak a peak inside the stately brown brick building.
Once inside, they found areas for classrooms, meeting rooms, galleries and artists’ studios on both the main floor and in the basement.
Anita Wolgast, co-director of NOTO, said she was excited about the building’s possibilities and what it would mean for artists and visitors.
“It’s just amazing,” Wolgast said. “It’s like it was made for art studios and galleries.”
The old government-built structure remains “solid” and will serve as a good home for NOTO, Wolgast said.
After the U.S. Postal Service vacated the building about a dozen years ago, it was acquired by North Topeka jewelry store owner Jim Robuck, who purchased it.
The building was used as a laundra-bar for a short time, then was purchased by Diamond-Everley roofing company, of Lawrence, and used for offices.
The building was put on the market this past March and was bought a couple of months later by the unnamed individual who subsequently donated it to NOTO.
Renovation is about to begin on the upper level, which is to become a community arts center, where art classes for children and adults will be offered in the back of the first level.
Gallery space will be prepared in the front of the first level, which also will have space for rentals, receptions and meetings.
Future plans include renovating the lower level for artist studios and workshops.
Upon completion of the renovation for the upper level, a grand opening is planned for the public when the building will be named and the donors recognized.
The exact cost for the work isn’t known at this time, as architects continue to work on the project. However, Wolgast said, the fundraising effort is already in full swing.