Going GAGA for GARNER: Weaving Art into a Community

Haverstraw, N.Y. is a microcosm of the region. From taking in crisp morning air on top of a mountain peak, to lunch in a diverse urban downtown, and ending with a rivertown sunset, you can have it all in Haverstraw. Garnerville brings us yet another type of experience that makes Haverstraw even more unique.

If you’ve ever driven down Railroad Avenue, you might have noticed a complex of buildings straight out of Brooklyn. This collection of brick and timber is known as the Garnerville Arts and Industrial Center.

Garnerville Arts and Industrial Center is a designated historic landmark in Rockland County; it is a 19th century, pre-Civil War textile mill. The mysterious-looking complex is 14 acres in size, and is comprised of a litany of artists and makers.

Garner Arts Center (formally known as GAGA) is a not-for-profit organization located within the Garnerville Arts and Industrial Center. You can learn more about the history of the center from our previous post. 

To get a sense of just how many facets there are to this complex, here is a bird’s eye view of Garner.

map of garner
Source: http://www.garnerartscenter.org

HaverstrawLife.com was able to get an exclusive tour of the artists’ and makers’ studios and the Dye Works Gallery, where Garner had their First Annual Member Art Show!

Entrance to Dye Works Gallery

The First Annual Member Art Show was an amazing success. Over 90 artists contributed to the show.


Inside one of the gallery space at the Garner Arts Center

Garner Arts has come a long way, facing a multitude of challenges including the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. The hurricane damaged various areas, but the amazing team at Garner has been working tirelessly to rebuild and revitalize the complex. Building 35 is one of those spaces. Building 35, the historic mill’s old cafeteria, is a new gallery space that Garner has been raising money to create building accessibility.

After walking through the galleries, we toured through brick alleyways, timber ceiling passages, and into one of the buildings that housed dozens of artists’ studios, Building 24.

Front of an artist studio building

Garner Arts Festival 2017

You can get lost in a sea of inspiration. Artists are hard at work in their spaces, and the creativity seeps out through into the central hall, drawing me in.

A maze of corridors connect the buildings.

We were fortunate enough to meet with the Jody Atkinson, the creator of Ayu Yoga Studio. Jody has taught yoga in Garner for eight years; she has seen how this complex has grown tremendously from being called the “terminal” to a historic space that weaves art into the community. Jody described to us what it was like to work in Garner.

I’ve been here during the dark days of Garner, but it has undergone a major transformation. This place is coming alive. It’s starting to happen around the Brewery. I can just walk in and run into people I know there, so the brewery has sort of taken on that function. It’s a meeting place. I would like this to become a destination where we can gather.


We ended our adventure with a visit to the Industrial Arts Brewery, home to yet another gallery space, and hosts to many events, such as Pitch Thursdays and Sunday Social.

Pitch (Music) Thursdays at the Brewery 

I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more from Garner, including a new coffee shop and more community outreach to young locals who have an affinity for the arts; from performing arts and spoken word to visual art and experimental filmmaking. This is a great step forward for Haverstraw.

This weekend (May 20-21, 2017), the center held their 14th Annual Garner Arts Festival with a theme of Social Justice! Visitors and community members were encouraged to explore the life of an artist here at Garner, and discuss how art can help bring about positive growth and change.

Garner Arts Festival 2017 – Coffee Bar & Thunderbirds

To learn more about or to contact Garner Arts Center visit: http://www.garnerartscenter.org

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