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Harvey School Connects to Community Through Arts Center

The newly re-christened Walker Center for the Arts brings more locals to the Harvey Campus, even when school isn't in session.

Jenna Luper of Cross River, 8, has written a play, has taken six different kinds of dance classes and practiced the art of glass painting in the arts classrooms at the Walker Center for the Arts at

Olivia Bady and Abby Hassett of Katonah, Olivia Singer of Bedford Hills and Patrick Taylor of Bedford performed produced in the center’s Black Box Theatre.

Locals attended the recent production of also held in the Black Box Theatre, and are invited to the center this Fri., Jul. 29 to see a performance of the Baltimore Dance Company, Flux/us Dance Projects.

Built in 2005, the newly christened Walker Center for the Arts is increasingly becoming an active hub for local arts, said Vinny Alexander, program director at the center.

“I started working here three years ago, and was charged by the headmaster with opening up the arts center to the community. He compared it to an airplane making a few trips a day—and said it should be an active hub where planes fly all of the time,” said Alexander.

For many local families, their access point to the center’s facilities is the Harvey Cavalier Summer Camp. Melissa Luper, mother of Jenna, said the center offers interaction with talented teachers whom her daughter might not otherwise be able to meet.

“She loves this camp and has for three years,” she said. “They teach kids how to be creative and how to think out of the box. Now Jenna wants to become a counselor here.”

Alexander said 150 artists teach over 300 campers during the summer. “Through the camp, and other performances we have had and will schedule this fall, we’re really connecting to the community.”

The center is also available for community and corporate use; Ubuntu Africa recently hosted its there. The space has great flexibility which makes it attractive for many purposes, he said. Up to 300 seats can be created depending on the configuration—accordion doors allow for a theatre in the round or a proscenium-style stage; the entire theatre can also be opened up to the gallery and lobby for banquets in a great hall.

“We envision this center to be a place where artists and the community can come together and work with Harvey staff,” he said. Saturday classes in a variety of arts are offered throughout the year.

The school announced at its this year that the center would be renamed for Jay and Eileen Walker for their generosity and guidance, according to Laura Prichard, director of development. Their children, Lindsey and Evan both graduated from Harvey.

“The center was built to gather the school’s fine arts and performing arts in one place. We’ve achieved that integration and share the space with the community whenever we can,” she said.

On Friday, a former Harvey camp director of dance, Judy Kurjan, returns to Katonah with her Baltimore-based dance troupe, the Flux/us Dance Project. They'll perform selected pieces for campers during the day Friday and perform all of their pieces for an evening audience. Kurjan said “the evening show promises to provide an inspiring event for serious dance enthusiasts.”

The show begins at 7 p.m. in the Walker Center for the Arts at Harvey. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children. Tickets are available at the door or online at: fluxusdanceprojects.org

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