Walk In Art Center History Time Line

Located two blocks from the Schuylkill River, the Walk In Art Center is housed in the former Walkin Shoe Factory, an historic three story factory built in 1887. Though a successful company for decades, the Walkin Shoe Company closed shortly after 2000.

In 2002, the empty factory became the property of Evans’ Transportation when Mr. Bert Evans purchased the space. His plan was to convert the building to serve as the company’s national headquarters, municipal police station and a non-profit food pantry.

In 2008, Nena Mazzei-Schmidt joined with Mr. Bert Evans to lay the groundwork for the Walk In Art Center, which was to occupy the remaining space in the building.

In 2011 the Walk In Art Center obtained 501 (C)(3) Non Profit Status and construction off the 3rd floor artist studios began.

  • 1887

    Walkin Shoe Company

    Walkin Shoe Company was established in 1887.

    Walkin Shoe Co. Sewing
  • 2002

    Evans Delivery

    Walkin Shoe Company building is bought by Mr. Bert Evans through his company, Evans Delivery, to become the new corporate headquarters.

    front entrence
  • 2003

    Evans Delivery +

    Along with Evans Delivery, The Building now houses the Local Food Pantry and the Schuylkill Haven Police Department.

    WIAC night photo
  • 2008

    WIAC Planning & Board

    Mr. Bert Evans and Executive Director Nena Mazzei-Schmidt begin the planning for an art center that will be one of a five part plan to revitalize Schuylkill Haven. An Advisory Board of Directors is formed for the new non-profit endeavor.

    planning meeting
  • 2009

    Space Preperation

    In 2009 the process of clearing the space of the left over machinery and inventory from the shoe factory began.

    machiens to be moved
  • 2009

    Levkulic Associates

    Levkulic Associates was retained to help Develop a Master Plan and program to Make the Walk In Art Center a reality.
    Mr. Evans had already retained the services of an architectural student to create some preliminary concepts for the art center and studio spaces.
    Research began and field visits to the Goggle Works in Reading PA ensued to gather information and ideas.
    Space preparation continued.

    space cleared out
  • 2010

    Fund Raising

    In 2010 The first fund raiser was held. It was decided to have a Ball and Kick Up Your Heels was born. This first event raised over eight thousand dollars.

    First Kick Up Your Heels
  • 2010

    Penn State

    In January 2010, Bert Evans had secured agreements of interest with Penn State University – Schuylkill Campus, for lease space for a visual arts classroom and with Schuylkill Community Education Council (SCEC), for lease space for classroom / training facilities. These initial strategic partners help to kick-off the concept of a multi-purpose / multi-use art center. Various meetings were held with these individuals / organizations and the process of incorporating them into the Master Plan was initiated.
    An environmental assessment of the facility was conducted and plans were developed to abate environmental hazards such as asbestos containing materials.
    Exterior windows were replaced with new energy efficient windows.
    Classroom space for these two organizations were designed and constructed on the 2nd floor of the Walk-In Art Center. The project was extensive in that it involved not only normal architectural elements but also new heating and cooling systems, and new technology for data and communications. Salvaging as much as possible of the original factory, was a primary focus.

    broken window
    WIAC Class Room
  • 2010-2011

    Phase 1: 2nd Floor Complete

    The 2nd floor renovations included partnerships with the Schuylkill County Education Council (SCEC) as well as the Penn State University (Schuylkill Campus) art classroom and bathrooms.
    Phase 1 construction was started in March 2010
    and completed in February 2011.

    Penn State class room at Walk In Art Center
  • 2010-2011

    Phase 2: Artists Studios Planning Begins

    Planning and discussions initiated for Artist studios to be located on the 3rd floor in the rear wing (above the classrooms for PSU and SCEC)
    Initial design concept was constantly evolving as input was sought from the Artists and the Stake Holder committee. Various design options were developed and critiqued over the summer months.
    A final design concept was realized in the fall of 2011 and bidding documents finalized by year end.
    It was decided to get the community involved by recycling old doors which would be used as the entry into the studios.
    As in previous designs, every effort was made to preserve the original factory elements and feel.

    studio plans
    recycle door
  • 2011

    Non-Profit 501 (C)(3) Status

    Walk In Art Center receives 501 (C)(3) status as the second floor of the WIAC is completed for use by Penn State (Schuylkill Campus) and the Schuylkill County Education Council (SCEC). Johnathan Paroby begins to photograph the changes made as the Walkin Shoe Company is turned into the Walk In Art Center.

    2011 clean up
  • 2011

    5k Run

    In June of 2011 the Walk In Art Center held it’s first 5k run coupled with an art show and entertainment. To help raise funds.

    5k run
  • 2011-2012

    Education Programs Begin

    Eager to get started with the mission,to inspire, equip and celebrate the cultural and creative talent of Schuylkill County, the Walk In Art Center began it education programs.
    The first classes were on photography, watercolor and drawing. As the studios were finished and artist moved in more and more education programs were added.

    education begins
  • 2012

    Phase 2: Bids and Construction

    Bids for the Artist studios were received, compiled and reviewed.
    Construction commences on the Artist studios located on the 3rd floor rear wing of the Center and takes most of the year to complete.
    The unfinished 3rd floor space was leased out to a community event and the attendance and feedback of the space was overwhelming. Based on these comments, the Board decided that this future space (which was being reserved for various conference rooms) would be designed and planned for large community events and also gallery space for the Artist’s works. This change in direction would also help to provide an income for the Center while at the same time promote the Center to the Public.
    Design commences for the Entertainment space and various concepts were developed and reviewed with the Artist and the Board of Directors.
    It was decided to construct this Entertainment space in phases as it was very extensive and involved lead based paint abatement, new heating and cooling systems, new bathrooms, new bar / service area, sound system, catering kitchen, electrical service upgrades, etc.
    The phased design was nearly complete by year end.

    2012 construction begins
    floors being sanded
  • 2012

    Phase 2: Partial 3rd Floor

    Third floor construction renovations in Phase 2: construction of artist’s studios, spray paint booth with ventilation system and storage areas.

    studio construction begins
  • 2012

    Artist Studios Completed

    Artist Studios are completed/ artists move in. First artists include: Lori Remmel, Lorraine Felker, Rob Mull, Michele Bosak, Chandon Delatorre, Dave Naydock, Audrey Bordonaro, Missi Allen, Johnathan Paroby, Molly Reed, Bonnie Bluee, Katelynn Mallon, Kristen Egan, Donna Egan and Ginamarie Ruby Alexander.

    studio completed
    grand opening ribbon cutting
  • 2012


    One of the many community events at the Walk In Art Center. The Schuylkill Haven Elementary 2nd Grade Class - “Walk to the Walk-In” day.

    2nd grade class on WIAC lawn
  • 2013

    3rd Floor Entertainment & Event Space

    Bids for the 3rd floor entertainment space were received, reviewed and awarded to various contractors for the various phases of work.
    Construction was completed by year end in time for the Borough’s New Year ’s Eve party.

    New Years Eve Party 2013
  • 2013

    Completed Multipurpose Event Space

    The completed Multipurpose Event Space

    Main Gallery Completed
  • 2013

    Mommy and Me Art Classes

    “Students” at a Mommy and Me art Class

    mommy and me class
  • 2013

    Fund Raiser - Kick Up Your Heels 2013

    The completed Multipurpose Event Space

    Completed Event Space 2014
  • 2014

    Phase 3: Main Gallery

    The final third floor construction renovations include modifying the large multi-purpose space to include a moveable gallery space, additional bathrooms and a catering kitchen.

    Gallery Area Main Hall
  • 2014

    Safe Haven Day Care Visit

    The Walkin Art Center hosts tours and gatherings for many community programs

    Safe Haven Day 2014 Kids Visit
  • 2014

    Artist Lance Rautzhan Exhibit Opening

    The Walkin Art Center hosts Art Exhibits from both studio artists and outside artists

    Artist Lance Rautzhan
  • 2014

    Summer Art Camp 2014

    Students of all ages Learn at the 2014 Summer Art Camp

    WIAC Summer Art Camp Drawing Class
    summer art camp music
  • 2014

    STS Art Scavenger Hunt

    Students Learn About Art In New And Fun Ways

    STS kids learn about art
    STS students art class
  • 2014

    Kick Up Your Heels V

    The annual fund raising event was once again a big success

    Kick Up Your Heels V - 2014
  • 2015

    Shakespeare Classes At The Walk In Art Center

    A 4 month class explores the world of performing Shakespeare’s plays while exploring language that is larger than life.

    Shakespeare poster a midsummer night's dream
  • 2015

    2015 Bridal Show

    The Walk In Art Center hosts the 2015 Bridal Show. Studio Artist Missi Allen Captures it on canvas.

    bridal show 2015 painting
    bridal show 2015 painting completed
  • 2015

    Walk In Art Center Hosts an SPCA Fund Raiser Art for Dogs

    The Walk In Art Center hosts the 2015 Art for Dogs event to help raise money for a local SPCA

    Completed dog art
  • 2015

    Summer Art Camp 2015

    The Walk In Art Center hold Summer Art Camp every summer. These camps teach all types of art to people of all ages.

    Poster for Art Camp 2015
  • 2015

    A Tour For A Local Organization

    The Jerusalem Church Daycare enjoy a tour of the Walk In Art Center

    Jerusalem Church Daycare kids tour the Walk In Art Center
  • 2015

    Kick Up Your Heels VI

    The sixth annual Kick Up Your Heels fund raiser was the best ever.

    Kick Up Your Heels VI Poster
    Kick Up Your Heels VI event at the Walk In Art Center
  • 2015

    Safe Trick or Treat

    All the local goblins attended the Safe Trick or Treat night at the Walk In Art Center

    Safe Trick Or Treat Night 2015 poster
  • 2015

    4th Graders Learn About Pop Art

    The Schuylkill Haven 4th grade class visits the Walk In Art Center to learn about Pop Art and Andy Warhol

    4th grade students learn about pop art at the Walk In Art Center
  • 2015

    Winter Classes Begin

    Winter Classes offered by the Walk In Art Center

    2015 winter class schedule
  • 2016

    New WIAC Web Site is Rolled Out

    WIAC Home Page

    After a huge amount of work our new home on the web goes Live!
    The new site was designed and developed by Cotts, Inc. of Pottsville and includes a content management system, education and event registration and many features we have needed. A significant amount of the development work was donated by Cotts, Inc.

  • 2016

    Artist Association Formed

    The Walk In Art Center Artist Association is formed.

    WIAC Artists' Association Logo
  • 2016

    Student Art Exhibitions Program

    The Student Art Exhibitions program was started to showcase art from area students in the Community Gallery.

    2016 Student Art Exhibitions
  • 2016

    First Annual Folk Art Festival Held

    The Walk In Art Center Held our first annual Folk Art Festival in June 0f 2016.
    Sponsors included: M&T Bank, Wilmington Trust and the Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau.

    Flok Art Festival Logo
  • 2016

    WIAC Named Official Folk Art Center

    The Walk In Art Center was Named Official Folk Art Center for Berks, Carbon and Schuylkill counties.

    Flok Art Festival Logo
  • 2016

    Kick Up Your Heels VII - Big Success

    The Walk In Art CenterFund Raising Gala, Kick Up Your Heels VII Was a big success. KUYH VII Art Meets Science set new records for funds raised and attendance.

    Flok Art Festival Logo


Please consider helping
us with our mission.

The Walk In Art Center is a
501(C)(3) Non Profit Organization.
We are located at:
220 Parkway Ave.
Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972

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