The Sampson Arts Council had big plans for the Victor R. Small Carriage House that stood just a few feet away from the historic home’s back door. Those plans came to a halt when severe weather toppled a tree onto the structure.
Nearly a year later, the council has plans to hold a grand opening celebration for the new building Thursday, Aug. 17, at 5:30 p.m.
Originally constructed in the early 1920s, the Victor R. Small Carriage House was damaged in September 2016 when a weather front passed through Clinton, causing a huge pecan tree limb to crash through the roof and extensively damage three of the building’s exterior walls.
“We had just completed the addition of a kiln room so that the Arts Council could offer pottery classes,” Sampson Arts Council board of directors member Ray Jordan said. “The original building was much smaller than the new building and would only accommodate approximately six to eight students comfortably. It had no running water or storage rooms as well.”
In April of 2015, the Carriage House underwent renovations to construct a potter studio. Arts Council director Kara Donatelli said the plans were to offer pottery classes once the renovations were complete, and the council could purchase a kiln.
Prior to the 2015 work, local donations were made to help with the renovations on the Small House property. The carriage doors on the front of the old building were replaced and updated, an additional door was added to the side of the building for access, the electrical system was rewired and new outlets were added and an additional room was built with ventilation for the use of the kiln.
Following the September storm, Jordan said the council began working with the insurance company to rebuild the structure. The damage to the structure was so extensive, the council had no choice but to start from scratch.
“Due to the extensive damages, it was determined that the existing Carriage House would need to be demolished and relocated to meet current zoning set-back requirements,” Jordan explained. “Upon learning the news of the damages, two Sampson County families contacted the Sampson Arts Council expressing their interest in helping to rebuild the facility as well as the possibility of creating a larger space that could be used to provide additional space for offering general art and pottery classes.”
The new Carriage House Studio sits farther back on the Small property, and affords more opportunities for not only pottery classes, but classes in other areas of art. Jordan said the insurance settlement, along with donations from two local families, enabled the Arts Council to replace and rebuild a much larger and nice building.
“Special thanks are extended to Mrs. Annabelle L. Fetterman, her daughter Molly Held and Mr. and Mrs. James Jones,” Jordan said. “It was through their desire and generosity that the expansion of the size of the Carriage House was made possible. It is through team effort that the new Carriage House Studio is possible. This facility will serve the residents of Sampson County for years to come as a place to learn, create and grow the arts.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.