Two flagship agencies joining to form a premier arts and media educational organization. Two of the Hudson Valley’s leading arts organizations, Mill Street Loft and Spark Media Project, have announced plans to merge, beginning with a transitional affiliation that starts on January 1, 2017.
Effective January 1, Spark Media Project will become a subsidiary of Mill Street Loft. Carole J. Wolf, Founder and Executive Director of Mill Street Loft, is stepping down after 36 years but plans to continue serving our community in other ways. Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt, Executive Director of Spark Media Project for the past ten years, will head both organizations until the merger is finalized, and continue to serve as Executive Director of the new merged entity. With combined missions of fostering self-expression and personal development through the arts, the merging of these two organizations is a natural fit. This would not have been possible without support from the Dyson Foundation and New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON).
Carole Wolf founded Mill Street Loft 36 years ago and devoted herself to the organization as its Executive Director, building it into a major nonprofit multi-arts educational center in the Hudson Valley with a national reputation. Earlier this year, the community celebrated Carole at our Friend of the Arts Award event “From Vision to Legacy”. Now this legacy will serve as the basis for a new vision for arts programming in our community.
“I’m very excited about all of the possibilities the merger of our two organizations brings,” states Carole Wolf. “We will now have the capacity to bring the arts to a wider audience with a greater variety of programming throughout Dutchess County and the greater Hudson Valley region. Each organization provides a different set of strengths and resources that will enhance the experience and educational opportunities for those we serve. I have worked closely with Nicole over the years, and I am confident in her abilities to lead this transition and guide the new organization into the future.”
Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt has dedicated her professional career to a diverse range of work in the humanities and arts. Over the past decade at Spark she helped grow the organization to include programs such as Forge Media, Spark’s apprentice production house; and the Reel Expressions International Youth Film Festival.
“It’s been an inspiring experience to see Spark transform from its roots as the Children’s Media Project into an organization that provides over 2,000 youth of all backgrounds the opportunity to learn media arts and workforce readiness skills annually,” says Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt. “Over the years, I’ve witnessed some of our youngest students grow into talented, working media professionals. As we look towards the future, I’m excited to see what we can do together when Spark teams up with Mill Street Loft, an organization that has been such a staple and set such a high standard of quality in the local arts community.”
Additional information about the new organization, including a new name, combined mission, program information and more will be made available. Interviews are available upon request.
About Mill Street Loft – MillStreetLoft.org
Mill Street Loft is a not-for-profit, community-based, multi-arts educational center dedicated to bringing a wide range of creative, educational, and culturally enriching programs to over 9,000 children, adults, seniors and families throughout the Hudson Valley. Since 1981, Mill Street Loft has changed lives through the arts through an extensive range of programs, including Youth Outreach, Arts for Healing, the award-winning Dutchess Arts Camps and Art Institute, classes, exhibitions, workshops, and performances. Mill Street Loft is committed to supporting personal growth, fostering self-expression, and enhancing human services through the arts to make a difference in the life of our multi-cultural community.
About Spark Media Project – SparkMediaProject.org
Spark Media Project is an arts and education organization focused on nurturing creativity and building skillsets among youth through media arts and technology. Located in Poughkeepsie, NY, we aim to create a teaching/learning environment where artists, educators, community activists, and especially children and teens can learn to interact with the media arts as both creators and as critical viewers. Spark’s programs have provided youth and the community with hands-on, experiential learning taught by caring and creative professionals for more than two decades. As participants gain technical, artistic, and workplace skills, they simultaneously build confidence, become better decision makers, and practice positive risk taking.
Contact: Nina Doyle
Director of Development
Mill Street Loft
45 Pershing Ave.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Melissa Esposito
Spark Media Project
42 Catherine St.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601