In 2000, leading citizens from various sectors of the city of Oneonta incorporated the Foothills Performing Arts Center, a forum for cultural and civic activity conceived to serve the needs of Chenango, Delaware, and Otsego Counties in central New York. Following the acquisition of a site on Market Street in the city’s historic downtown district, the initial phase of construction was completed with the opening of the Production Center in 2005. Completion of the entire facility, which houses a large theater and considerable civic and exhibition space, was substantially completed in 2009.
Foothills Performing Arts Center is a public, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable institution, exempt from federal taxation. Its primary mission is to provide cultural enrichment to the tri-county area (with an eye, eventually, to an even wider radius), not only in terms of arts events, but in educational and outreach initiatives as well, thus stimulating the economy in diverse ways: attracting and retaining professionals and businesses, and helping to keep young people in the area after college.
The tri-county region at the heart of the Foothills Performing Arts Center’s focus is exceptionally rich in artistic and cultural activity. Foothills Performing Arts Center is emerging as a magnet for many artistic events through collaboration with booking agents, or produced by renting organizations (e.g. visiting chamber music groups, rock bands, etc.).
In October 2007 Foothills was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to conduct The Big Read in May 2008. Grants were also received from the NEA to conduct The Big Read in 2009 and 2010. The Big Read is an initiative of the NEA created to reverse, or at least stem, the alarming decline in reading for pleasure and enlightenment in the United States. Studies show that fewer than 50% of American adults (especially between the ages of 18 and 35) engage in private reading. The Big Read focuses on a specific book from a list provided by the NEA and communities sponsor activities (films, plays, competitions, panel discussions, lectures, etc.) for a period of one month to stimulate interest and participation, and, one hopes, the desire to read the target work of literature. This is just one of the many contributions the center makes to the educational life of the region and it is significant that the National Endowment for the Arts has deemed Foothills, in its infancy, to be already of sufficient stature to be awarded this grant.
In addition to being a center for the performing arts and educational outreach, Foothills also offers civic space for trade shows and exhibitions. There are innumerable ways in which this aids and stimulates the local and regional business community. Moreover, the many multi-purpose spaces at Foothills have already been used for citizens’ gatherings, election polls, conferences, symposia, auctions, receptions, etc. and there is much evidence to suggest that they will be increasingly used towards these ends. Clearly, Foothills Performing Arts Center is a forum for important and animated community interaction on multiple levels.
At the present time, Foothills Performing Arts Center is providing enormous stimulus to the region through the use of the Production Center and the Wright/Wilber National Bank Atrium, which was completed in 2009. An ambitious slate of events is scheduled for the 600+ seat theater, now named The Bettiol theater and continued improvements to that space are contemplated, which will accommodate a wider variety of events, thus multiplying several-fold the industry and vitality originating at the center.
Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center is an award winning green structure in Oneonta,New York.On May 19th, 2010, Foothills was recognized by NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) for the energy efficient measures incorporated into the new center that helps cut energy costs by more than $65,000 a year. These design measures included a high performance wall and roof insulation, EIFS (exterior insulation and finish systems) compound on the exterior and sensors in the lobby that turn off the compact fluorescent lighting during the daylight.
There is also a computerized Building Management System which can program 4 zones for on-demand ventilation and many, many energy-saving features in the HVAC system.
NYSERDA informed Foothills that they had the "greenest" building to ever go through this program from an energy standpoint. In recognition, Foothills received a financial award and plaque that is displayed in the center.
Foothills Performing Arts Center
24 Market St.
Oneonta, NY 13820