The Schoolhouse building is located at 494 Commercial Street in Provincetown’s Historic East End Gallery District. It is the only remaining one of three built in 1844 to replace the one room schools throughout the town. Known as the Eastern School and until the early 1900s it contained the first three elementary school grades. In 1931 its students moved to the Central and Western Schoolhouses. In 1936 Charles H. Hapgood began a movement to convert the abandoned schoolhouse to a Community Center, with advocacy from Labor activist and journalist Mary Heaton Vorse.
Thus, quote: “Thirty or forty years before the notion of “adaptive reuse” gained currency in the preservation movement, the Eastern School was adaptively reused. Again. And again. And again. It has a remarkable track record of community service, made even more astonishing by the fact that is one of the few extant buildings in Provincetown that were mentioned by Henry David Thoreau in Cape Cod: “Notwithstanding all this sand, we counted three meeting-houses and four school-houses nearly as large."
During the depression it served a community center, and later as an art school and then as art galleries. The ground floor was headquarters for the American Legion Morris Light Post Number 71. In 1997 Howard G. Davis III, a local patron and collector lovingly restored the building and opened a community arts center named The Schoolhouse Center. This innovative center housed galleries, studios, a performance space, musical rehearsal rooms and featured educational and community programming. One of the galleries, The Driskel Gallery, was named in memory of David’s friend Kevin Driskel, who died of complications from AIDS on April 4, 1997. On May 26, 2007 Mr. Davis also named the building’s restored bell tower after Kevin. In 2005 Mr. Davis sold the center to WOMR, a local radio station. Presently the building operates as an arts and media center comprised of three individual businesses.
May 27 – June 28 - Joel Janowitz/ Philip Malicoat
July 1 – 20 - Jennifer Amadeo-Holl/ Amy Arbus/ David Hilliard/ Paul Stopforth/
July 22 – August 10 - Richard Klein/ Lauren Ewing/ Jason Rohlf/ Tess Michalik/
David X Levine
August 12 – 31 - Elise Ansel/ Han Feng/ Adrian Fernandez/ Jeannie Motherwell /
Sept 2 – Oct 2 - Mark Adams/ Breon Dunigan/ Diana Horowitz/ Sarah Lutz/
Francis Olschafskie/ Anna Poor/ Rebecca Doughty/ Vicky Tomayko - A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary
of The Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill
Oct 7 - Jan 3, 2023 Best of 2022 and The Tool Shed/new work from Stephen Wells
HOURS: Fridays in December 4-8pm/ Saturdays 11-5pm/ Sundays 11-3pm/ Always by appointment