The purpose of the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, a non-profit organization, is to support, promote, strengthen, and interpret the creative, performing, and visual arts through education programs, exhibits, and special events.
Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center
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 actually begins in 1834, in a two-story log house built by Abram Stutzman, on the very edge of the “Johnstown to Fort Ligonier” wagon road. This house became a welcoming center for the city of Johnstown, and as the only stop in this mountain wilderness. The Stutzman Log House was a gathering place for travelers at the turn of the century. Eventually, it was purchased by the Palliser Family, who renovated it 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 Allied Artists of Johnstown moved into the former Palliser House at 1217 Menoher Boulevard. It was 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, and 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 needed 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. It was destined to remain hidden there, while the building was owned by Westmont Borough.
Operating out of the Palliser house, the Associates of the Allied Artists, as they were now called, grew and flourished. By 1972, there were 800 members, and 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. A fund raising campaign to buy the property was begun by the Arts Associates, and was so successful that the asking price of $60,000 was met, as well as raising an additional $46,000.
The remaining $46,000 from the fund drive was used to restore the Stutzman house to its original hand-hewn chestnut log construction, and to renovate the interior. In 1978, the 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 given. The Log House was used for theatre productions, outdoor concerts, Children’s Art Camps, The Log House Arts Festival, the Festival of the Trees, and the Holly Bazaar, providing education and entertainment for the entire Cambria County area and surrounding counties.
With 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, opening the month with the annual Festival of the Trees and Holly Bazaar.
The spacious 9,200 square foot, two-story building houses the two Fend Children’s Center classrooms, and entry foyer, a large exhibit gallery, the Marcia Ponas Warrick Memorial Doll Museum, a library, a kitchen and an office downstairs, a large classroom with cathedral ceiling which can be divided into two rooms, a pottery studio, a weaving studio and a darkroom upstairs.
At the entrance to the property, beside the old “wagon road: is a pond, built by the Stutzman’s, fed by a fresh water spring and surrounded by a heavy stone foundation. In 1989, the pond area, had fallen into disrepair, was dredged, cleaned and restored by the Westwood Kiwanis Club as a gift to the community. It was stocked with fish and continues to enhance the beauty of the property.
Now, 50 years later, a dream begun by a handful of people interested in promoting the visual arts had become a reality. The Community Arts Center of Cambria County reaches out to a community of 250,000 people as well as thousands of tourists each year from around the world.
All classes and primary exhibits are housed in the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center. The Stutzman Log House continues to be actively used, with two galleries on the main floor and offices on the second floor.
As we celebrate 50 years of history with the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, the historic Log House and Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center continue to be a welcoming center of the city of Johnstown. It continues to be a gathering place for travelers. We owe so much to those who gave us this gift of art.
Meet the vibrant faces of the Community Arts Center!
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.
J. Ross Stewart is our President, leading an army of passionate people.
Community Arts Center
of Cambria County