What We Do
Set in a bucolic rural valley in the northwestern Catskill Mountains of New York State, The West Kortright Centre is a nonprofit organization dedicated to excellence in the arts, featuring a diverse blend of world-class concerts, workshops, art exhibits, and community events.
A dedicated staff and board provide only the finest cultural programming in our intimate, acoustically excellent auditorium space. Each season, we bring in gifted artists and performers from around the world, across the country, and throughout our local region. Since its founding in 1975, WKC has enticed hundreds of musicians, actors, writers and other performers from as far away as Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Ukraine, Iran, Palestine, Angola, Gambia, Mali, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda, Zaire, and Zimbabwe. Committed to enrichment for local young people, we showcase their talents each season with Opening Acts and Shakespeare in the Valley, and provide a variety of workshops for all ages. We also make The Centre available for public use and low-cost rentals.
The Scots-Irish who farmed this rich land built their church at a natural meeting place: the convergence of three roads with the old Catskill Turnpike. The elegant, classic structure, built in 1850, served them for 121 years. In 1971, the church closed its doors, its congregants leaving behind a rich legacy of spiritual and social service to the community.
A New Chapter
In 1975, the valley’s residents vowed to save the building, with its beautiful stained glass windows, kerosene chandeliers, and rich woodwork, and the church began its second life of service. Now a Historic Landmark, the Greek Revival structure became home to The West Kortright Centre.
Saving and improving the former church was accomplished through the combined efforts of hundreds of members. Together, we have provided major renovations such as installing electricity, plumbing and heat, refurbishing interior walls, repairing stained glass windows, and renovating the stage. Significant improvements have included the creation of gallery space, construction of a permanent outdoor dance floor and stone walls, addition of theatrical sound and lighting systems, restoration of the kerosene chandeliers, and the purchase of a grand piano.
The West Kortright Centre has thrived because of the involvement and financial support of our members, area businesses, local foundations, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Admissions, workshop fees, and grants cover a significant portion of The Centre’s programs and operating costs, but we still must rely on contributions to make up the difference. The continued support of those we serve allows us to maintain our programs and facilities at levels we’ve all come to expect.