Art Omi Benenson Center Expansion Project
In 2008, Art Omi opened the doors of the Charles B. Benenson Center. The plan was to be open weekends in the summer only; that lasted one season. Over ten years later, the Benenson Center is open daily, welcoming over 30,000 visitors each year to explore contemporary art and architecture—entirely free of charge. Art Omi's visitors include art lovers who see Art Omi as a must-see contemporary art destination, area residents who attend art workshops or camp, neighbors walking dogs or jogging the trails, and the children who have grown along with our Art Omi: Education programming.
Art Omi has outgrown the beautiful space that has served us well. Art classes are held on the floor of the gallery, limited to dry media. This affects the audience experience as well as curatorial choices. With a new education center dedicated to art-making, the children and adults we serve will work in a space where they can explore all kinds of materials without inhibition, while remaining close to the artworks that provide inspiration.
The expansion of the Benenson Center serves three primary goals:
- To provide a dedicated space for arts education, including programs like Camp Omi, partnerships with area organizations like Coarc and Kite's Nest, and the regional school districts that come to Art Omi for field trips.
- To expand Art Omi's administrative offices, which are insufficient for the current staff size
- To expand gallery and art storage space to provide enhanced exhibition facilities.
Art Omi is proud of the contributions that we make to those in our local and regional community:
- Art Omi provides free, year round access to the Sculpture & Architecture Park — most recently lauded by residents who expressed enormous appreciation they could have an open respite from COVID and access to a variety of community open spaces.
- Art Omi offers dozens of free public events throughout the year.
- Art Omi presents innovative arts education and camp programs for children, including scholarships for need-based families.
- Art Omi contributes indirectly to the creative economy by generating tourism, and by working with local vendors and service providers wherever possible. You can read more about Art Omi's local impact here.
Art Omi looks forward to continuing its mission of transformation through the arts in these expanded facilities. We welcome your questions and comments! Send to email@example.com.
Since the initial presentation of the expansion to the Ghent Planning Board in April 2019, Art Omi has worked closely with its team of engineers, architects, and regulatory officials to address the questions and concerns posed by the Planning Board and public. Extensive documentation of this process is available for review below.
- Art Omi Special Use Permit  (PDF)
- Art Omi Special Use Permit Application [Mar 2019] (PDF)
- Ghent Fire Department Letter about site access [Aug 2019] (PDF)
- NYS DEC Acknowledgement of Notice of Intent [Sept 2019] (PDF)
- Art Omi Tax Map [Sept 2019] (PDF)
- NYS SPDES Permit and Letter from Pat Prendergast [Oct 2019] (PDF)
- Ray Jurkowski Site Plan Review [Nov 2019] (PDF)
- Environmental Assessment Form [Jan 2020] (PDF)
- Art Omi Traffic Study by Creighton Manning [Jan 2020] (PDF)
- Ray Jurkowski Site Plan Review [Jan 2020] (PDF)
- Columbia County Planning Board Site Plan Approval [Feb 2020] (PDF)
- Grant & Lyons / Art Omi Letter to Ghent Planning Board [May 2020] (PDF)
- Additional Grant & Lyons / Art Omi Letter to Ghent Planning Board [May 2020] (PDF)
- Art Omi Benenson Center Project Narrative [July 2020] (PDF)
- Art Omi adjusts estimates for bigger center [The Columbia Paper, June 17, 2020]
- Ghent wants more details on Art Omi proposal [The Columbia Paper, May 11, 2020]
- Art Omi upgrade plans spark plaudits and pans [The Columbia Paper, March 16, 2020]
Ghent Planning Board Minutes & Public Comment
- Public comment received by Ghent Planning Board [Mar - May 2020] (PDF)
- Ghent Planning Board Minutes, 4/3/2019 [PDF]
- Ghent Planning Board Minutes, 5/1/2019 [PDF)
- Ghent Planning Board Minutes, 7/10/2019 [PDF]
- Ghent Planning Board Minutes, 10/2/2019 [PDF]
- Ghent Planning Board Minutes, 11/6/2019 [PDF]
- Ghent Planning Board Minutes, 12/4/2019 [PDF]
- Ghent Planning Board Minutes, 2/5/2020 [PDF]
- Ghent Planning Board Minutes, 3/4/2020 [PDF]
- Ghent Planning Board Minutes, 5/6/2020 [PDF]