About Us

Arts Center East is home to a rich artistic community. We are a place where visual artists from across the state – and beyond! – exhibit and sell their work through juried exhibits and members exhibits. Unique handmade creations of pottery, jewelry, wood crafts, and other gifts made by local and regional artisans fill our artisan craft fairs. Musical and theatrical performances delight audiences of all ages, and our classrooms hum with he joy of artistic creation and growth. We are the hart of the arts east of the river.

Arts Center East hosts numerous exhibits and events throughout the year. We offer classes and workshops in drawing, painting of all mediums, photography, writing, and more.
Our Mission is to advance the arts for everyone through education exhibits, events, and performances. Our Vision is to become a regional arts destination in Connecticut. All are welcome to enjoy the innovative exhibits, educational programming, performances, and events offered at Arts Center East. Join us today!

Staff & Board

Arts Center East is led by a small dedicated staff and Board of Directors.

BOARD MEMBERS / Robert Hurd (President), Ginny Emerson (Vice-President), Kathy Stavens (Interim Treasurer), Laura Kinlock (Secretary), Claudia Ayer, Irma Carter, Joao Goncalves, Jacques Lamarre, YukShan Li,  Dr. Ellen Marmer, Jane Penfield, Paul Shimer, Stephen F. Sutton, Phyllis Winkler.


INTERN / Alex Ose


POETRY ROCKS! / Pegi Deitz Shea, director
DIONYSUS THEATRE COMPANY / Gabbi Mendelsohn, director

Our Mission

Arts Center East’s Mission is to advance the arts for everyone through education, exhibits, events, and performances.
You can help support Arts Center East’s Mission to enrich lives and enhance economic development east of the river.

Our History


The Arts Center East building was originally constructed in 1927 and served as the County Home School. The Colonial Revival style school served the children residing in the orphanage, formerly located where the police station on Route 30 stands today.

When the orphanage closed, the school building continued to serve the community, first as the Vernon Elementary School and later as the Vernon Kindergarten. The Vernon Kindergarten closed in the 1970’s and the building was used as storage and office space for the Board of Education. By the turn of the century, it had fallen into disrepair.


In July 2010, through the efforts of a committee of town residents, Vernon received a state grant for $1.7 million to fund a renovation of the historic building.


In 2012 the building was reincarnated as Arts Center East, the heart of the arts east of the river.


Arts Center East is home to a rich artistic community, showcasing visual arts and our Artist Members, Literary Arts, and the Performing Arts. Join us today!