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North Hills Monthly

Hoyt Center to Host Arts on the Riverwalk

Jul 31, 2018 02:19PM ● By Hilary Daninhirsch

New Castle, our neighbor to the north in Lawrence County, may not be on your regular weekend travel radar. But if you haven’t been to the area for a while, mark September 8 on your calendar for the community’s 5th annual Arts on the Riverwalk event, sponsored by Arts & Education at the Hoyt.

The Hoyt is a regional art center and museum with the mission to expand and enrich the life of the community through participation in the arts, explained Kimberly Koller-Jones, executive director. This is the fifth year for the event but the second time that it will be run independently of the New Castle Fireworks Festival.

“After three years, we realized that we needed to branch out on our own to fully develop it the way we had envisioned, so we moved it to September,” said Koller-Jones, adding that the event is geared toward an art-centric crowd but caters to families as well.

About 50 artisans, including jewelers, painters and potters, will showcase their wares, which will also include items like handcrafted soaps and lotions. All will be available for purchase. In addition to the artist’s market, visitors can look forward to children’s activities, food vendors, a visual arts competition, domestic and international screenings from a corresponding short film competition, and street performers and other forms of live entertainment, including the Pittsburgh-based Squonk Opera.

While you’re strolling along the grounds of the festival, take time to visit Arts & Education at the Hoyt on the city’s North Hill. The art center has humble origins:  in 1965, a group of local artists wanted a place to showcase local talent to share with the New Castle community. The Hoyt family offered their former home for these purposes; today, the museum occupies that space as well as the mansion next door, which had also been owned by a member of the Hoyt family. The two houses are connected by a glass-enclosed walkway; the building stretches for an entire city block.

“We have art classes, exhibitions, concerts, festivals, special events, school programs—you name it,” said Koller-Jones. Classes in a myriad of disciplines are offered at the Hoyt, including ceramics, painting, language, digital media, photography, voice, stained glass, and more.

The museum maintains a permanent collection, including rooms dedicated to Shenango China, a New Castle-based china manufacturer that produced commercial and residential services for two American presidents and European royalty. At any given time, the galleries rotate between 75 and 125 pieces of work by contemporary American artists.

Whether you’re exploring the festival grounds or the inside of the Hoyt, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. “It’s a great drive, a great day trip, and it showcases the best of what our region has to offer,” said Koller-Jones.

To learn more, visit