Artful Transformation Saves Storm-Damaged Building
The opening of Kleinhelter Gallery in New Albany’s historic Weinmann Building marked the culmination of a preservation success years in the making.
On the Verge of Demise
The fate of New Albany’s c.1858 Weinmann Building looked dim back in 2011, when powerful spring storms in southern Indiana caused a rear corner to collapse. When the owner decided to demolish the structure, Indiana Landmarks teamed up with the city and the New Albany Urban Enterprise Association to save it.
With additional support from Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County and Develop New Albany, we repaired the damage, added a new roof and period-appropriate windows, repointed the masonry, and gave the building a tasteful new exterior paint scheme before marketing it with preservation covenants.
An initial buyer began additional work on the building but had to step away from the project, selling the building to Ray and Gina Kleinhelter in May 2017. Both artists, the Kleinhelters recognized that the structure’s large open spaces and abundant natural light made it an ideal gallery and workspace. The building’s many original features, including a staircase, pocket doors, and wide-board pine flooring on the second floor, added to its appeal. Drawing on Ray’s construction experience, the couple and their adult children invested countless hours of sweat equity over the next two years to finish the landmark’s transformation.
Today, the upstairs houses studio space and apartments for both of the children. Downstairs, two large rooms will be used to display local artists’ work on a rotating basis and could eventually serve as event space. The opening exhibit, which will remain in place until April 27, showcases pieces painted by Ray Kleinhelter from a floating studio in the Ohio River.
For more information about the current exhibit, visit www.facebook.com/afloatontheohio/, or visit the Kleinhelter Gallery’s Facebook page.
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