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The Exchange Will Carry On

Jan 19, 2015 03:41PM ● Published by Erica Shames

Rising like the phoenix, The Moose Exchange in Bloomsburg will move forward, fulfilling its mission with renewed vigor: supporting the arts, promoting education, encouraging creativity, and enriching downtown Bloomsburg and the surrounding community – just not at its original location.

With heavy hearts but nonetheless with expectations for a bright future, the board of 203 West Main Street Inc. has determined that the organization cannot renovate the building known as the Moose Exchange. Damaged by a fire on Jan. 30, 2014, the structure requires a re-investment far beyond what the board can raise.

“So many people from throughout the community – and beyond – have supported us during our five-year history,” says Exchange board president Mary Clapp, “and the board has looked long and hard at our options going ahead. We know that we can serve our region by continuing to do some of the things that we have done well since we started, as well as expanding our arts programs, but not at 203 West Main Street, as much as we love that building. The building remains structurally sound, and it will make a good home for another owner who can take it on.”

Since the fire, the Exchange and its Stairwell Gallery have operated at 24 East Main Street, in a storefront known as the Antler – a small piece of the Moose. 

People from all around the Central Susquehanna Valley have participated in recent Gallery exhibitions, including 20 high school students in the Regional Art Scholarship Exhibition, and the “Cash & Carry” show at the end of 2014 featured work by almost 100 artists ranging from eight-year-olds to university art professors, with every level of professional and amateur in between. 

The Exchange has five exhibitions planned so far for the Antler in 2015, while developing other arts programs and events, and it will once again produce the growing Destination Blues Music Festival, coming up on the 6th through 8th of February, in partnership with Downtown Bloomsburg, Inc.

From the day it opened, for the first ArtWalk-In in February of 2010, the Moose Exchange succeeded because of the contributions of the people who brought their ideas and energy to the project. In four years of operation, the Moose Exchange attracted 40,000 people to events ranging from bowling parties to weddings, art openings to concerts, farmers markets to Friday fish fries. With the community’s continued involvement, the Exchange will live on as a vibrant and vital regional asset.

Once upon a time, a building called the Exchange Block sat on Bloomsburg’s Main Street, where the Hotel Magee later stood. Although the Moose Exchange on West Main Street has come and gone, the Exchange name – and the community enterprise associated with it – will not disappear.

For more information, contact Oren B. Helbok at 570-317-2596 or 203westmain@gmail.com.

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