THE JANSEN ART CENTER
The 1920’s era building that now houses the Jansen Art Center was once home to the Lynden City Hall and Fire Hall. Through the generosity of the Eleanor and Henry Jansen Foundation and the work of visionaries, architects, designers and contractors, the structure was completely transformed into the Jansen Art Center. It is a place for artists to create, teach, share and engage the community in appreciation of the arts.
Warm and welcoming colors, gleaming restored fir floors, carefully placed lighting and attention to the smallest detail bring beauty and life to the building while retaining the historic ambiance of the old City Hall.
THE MAIN FLOOR
The main floor of the old Fire Hall houses the Firehall Café. Replicas of the original Fire Hall doors open onto Front Street to provide open air seating on sunny days. Up the stairs from the coffee shop, the Piano Lounge offers visitors the opportunity to listen to live music inside or on the adjacent outdoor, second story deck.
To the right of the front entrance, the Gallery Shop offers a wide selection of original artwork. The window through which Lynden residents once paid their water bills was saved and provides a welcoming space where visitors can register for classes and purchase tickets for the Jansen Art Center’s many performance events and activities. A handicap accessible lift, in the space where firemen once hung hoses above the basement furnace to dry, provides access to all floors of the building.
On the other side of the staircase, the Fine Arts Gallery showcases the works of regional artists. Here, in the 1930s, Camp Fire Girls were said to have proudly displayed their handicrafts.
At the bottom of the main stairway, the administrative office is located near what was once the marshal’s office. Down the hall, the barred jail cells have been left in place and will house the Jansen Art Center’s collection of art available for rental. The walk-in fireproof vault provides an ideal (and certainly secure) space for documents, records and treasured art objects.
In 1912, the H.S. Steinhauer Building opened as a harness and saddler business, and a shoe repair shop next to the old City Hall. Now, a new corridor takes you to this space and two large Dance Studios with newly installed sprung wood floors. In this space the Northwest Ballet Academy offers classes in ballet, modern and lyrical dance, boy’s classes and courses in creative movement.
A spacious Painting Studio, featuring large windows is located on the south side of the building.
THE LOWER FLOOR
The stairs in the former Steinhaur Building take visitors and artists to the lower floor’s array of studio workspaces. The largest is a fully equipped Ceramics Studio with doors opening to an outdoor patio area. The studio contains electric kilns and a gas kiln.
Next to the Ceramics Studio is a large multi-purpose Workshop area that features a cement floor and sinks – the perfect place for hand-dyers, silk painters, felters and other artists. and a pug mill for recycling clay. Wheels are available to rent in this space and can be moved outside on nice days.
Also featured is a studio space specifically designed for Jewelry Making.
THE UPPER FLOOR
Up the stairway from the main floor, the day the old City Hall opened in 1928, Elzie Tremain and his 15 piece orchestra entertained more than 300 guests that crowded into the City Council Chambers. Now, 1,200 square feet of this area has been renamed Chamber Hall. This elegant space features a Schimmel concert grand piano and and can accommodate musical and dramatic performances, recitals, special events and private parties.
Opposite Chamber Hall is a spacious room that was originally the city’s library. This large, versatile space offers an excellent area for art workshops, creative writing classes and meetings. Its proximity to Chamber Hall makes it ideal for large gatherings and catered events.
The Weaving Studio with its bright airy space and bay windows overlooking Front Street is located above the downstairs dance studios. Several looms have been donated and are available for open studio rentals. Here, weavers, spinners and other textile artists can gather for classes, workshops and individual study.
Three music practice rooms and a large ensemble room featuring musical instruments are housed on the floor’s south side. Students can sign up for private lessons or rent the spaces for musical sessions.
Wall space throughout the upper floor features the art of students, art instructors and the work of fine artists.