The 1 ½ acre Stowe Farm property and barn is now being offered for use as an Arts Center to further expand the support base for artists interested in becoming involved in Milford and the Walnut Beach community. The original 2 ½ acre Stowe Farm property was subdivided and partially sold off in 2002. The Victorian farmhouse and a small cottage were sold as one parcel with the provision that the property be preserved as historic. One of the barns and the other cottage was sold to resident owners with the understanding that the property could not be further sub-divided. Approximately $100,000 was invested in utility separation (water, gas, electricity, phone).
The land to the east of the farmhouse below the tennis court was sold to a private developer as two building lots. Single-family homes will eventually be constructed with the restriction that they be of a colonial design to maintain a cohesive and attractive streetscape. The Firehouse Art Gallery two blocks away is also considered part of the planned Arts District.
Several ideas have emerged for the possible use of this property including art studios, rehearsal and performance space, classrooms, sculpture gardens, gallery and museum space. The Center could also be a combination of complimentary uses. The following general goals and objectives are being considered:
The Arts Center is broadly defined and could include any form of visual or performing arts.
Multi-use approaches that support a variety of activities are favored.
The facility should be open and available to the public to the greatest extent possible.
Financial self-sufficiency/independence is a goal.
Integrating or featuring educational components is important.
Creating a venue that will attract prominent, successful artists.
Retail uses will be limited, with the exception of exhibition art sales and similar activities.
A residency component is being considered but not as a major end use.
Maintaining open space and creative uses of the property is a goal.
Sensitivity to the surrounding residential neighborhood will be required.
No strictly recreational uses or improvements are being considered.
Additional structures or expansion of the existing structures should be carefully integrated.
Agricultural and/or horticultural activities will be considered (it’s a farm!).
People interested in becoming involved with the Stowe Farm Arts Center by donating time or money should contact Bill Meddick from the Milford Fine Arts Council at 203 878-6647 or Tom Ivers from the Milford Community Development Office at 203-783-3230. At the Arts Festival on August 5, 2012 there will be a sign up sheet at the Hospitality Table for anyone who wishes to receive information about the Stowe Farm Plans.