Orange County Partnership - News

  • Rendering of the Thornwillow Makers Village
  • Rendering of the Thornwillow Makers Village
  • Rendering of the Thornwillow Makers Village

Construction Commences on Ambitious Craft-Artisan Village Project in Newburgh

The first dirt has been turned on a project that will create a unique craft and artisan village in Newburgh’s East End Historic District.


A groundbreaking ceremony for the $1.6-million Thornwillow Makers Village venture was staged on June 17 by The Thornwillow Institute, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to promoting and perpetuating the art of craft. The Thornwillow Makers Village is envisioned as an iconic destination for craft and artisanal production that will eventually encompass 100,000 square feet in and around five adjacent properties. Together with its anchor neighbors that include Atlas Studios, Habitat for Humanity and Wireworks, the area in the East End of Newburgh will continue to bolster economic development and creative programming for the City of Newburgh.


During Phase 1, The Thornwillow Institute will renovate the 4,000-square-foot Willow Room and Residences (Corner Building). The Corner Building will transform the ground floor into a community bookstore and café with a lab to teach and train on the art of bookbinding, offer master classes and partner with local institutions on the preservation of their archives and art collection.


The second floor will house two apartments reserved for individuals participating in the Thornwillow Institute fellowship programs. To support this project, the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council has awarded an Empire State Development Capital Grant of $320,000 for reimbursement of a portion of construction and rehabilitation costs.


The Thornwilllow Institute also recognized the Hearst Foundation, Rowley Family Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kickstarter Campaign, its Board of Directors and patrons for their support in making this project possible.


Luke Pontifell, Founder and President, Thornwillow Institute said, “Over 15 years ago, Savine (his wife) and I relocated Thornwillow Press to Newburgh and then later founded the Thornwillow Institute, our nonprofit training arm. We have never been more invested in the revitalization of the City of Newburgh alongside our commitment to teaching and perpetuating the arts and crafts of the written word, to supporting writers, artists, and artisans, and to revitalizing a distressed historic neighborhood than we are today. We could not be more grateful to reach this groundbreaking milestone with the tremendous support and partnership of the Governor and the Regional Economic Development Council.”


A host of state, county and city dignitaries lent their support to the endeavor, including Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, who said, “The arts are an important part of Orange County and The Thornwillow Makers Village will be an asset to Newburgh. The project will provide vital educational opportunities for artists and refurbish historic buildings in Newburgh’s East End, which will benefit the city.”


City of Newburgh Mayor Torrance R. Harvey added, “I would like to thank Governor Cuomo, Empire State Development, the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council and all other stakeholders and partners for believing in the vision of Thornwillow Makers Village in our historic East end. This aligns with our revitalization efforts and 10-year master plan. This moment is a game changer! Our downtown revitalization efforts are getting closer to our goals and aspirations for a healthy and more vibrant city. It will foster economic and creative growth that’s unimaginable!”