HAWLEY, PA — From Broadway workouts, tap and ballet classes, guided meditation to flow yoga—there’s quite a bit going on at the newly formed Hawley Hub right now. But its …
HAWLEY, PA — From Broadway workouts, tap and ballet classes, guided meditation to flow yoga—there’s quite a bit going on at the newly formed Hawley Hub right now. But its organizers, Alison Hoffmann, Sarah Clauss and Jill Carletti, say that this multi-purpose community space will eventually be home to much more.
Hoffmann, who teaches theater at the Wallenpaupack High School, and her husband, Justin, took the first step in creating the Hub when they purchased the historical Murray building on Main Avenue in downtown Hawley last June. While getting such an ambitious project up and running amid a global pandemic wasn’t easy, Hoffmann said that waiting for things to go back to normal wasn’t an option.
“We had already signed a contract and we were moving forward, so we had to kind of take that risk,” she said. “[Some people] were saying this is not a good time to do this... well, when is there ever going to be a good time?”
Hoffmann, Clauss and Carletti all grew up in Hawley and are all embedded in the culture the borough has to offer. In addition to teaching theater at the high school, Hoffmann is a board member and longtime volunteer at the Ritz Company Playhouse. Clauss is the president of that board, as well as the vice president of the Downtown Hawley Partnership. Carletti has been a board member of the partnership, and for seven years ran a local concert and events series called Harmony Presents.
“As things shut down and our schedules kind of eased up, we ramped up getting the Hub going,” Clauss said. “While it’s not the most ideal time to start a business, it worked out.”
By July, they had turned the upstairs of the building into the Eddy Studio. Instructors lease the space to hold their dance, fitness and wellness classes there. The Hub also provides the marketing, advertising and registration support for its instructors.
While working to expand its schedule of classes, the Hub team is also renovating the downstairs, which will be turned into a community event space. Students from the high school are involved in shaping that space.
“[The students] were the driving force behind this,” Clauss said. “They wanted somewhere where teens could be and feel comfortable.” Hoffmann said that she also wants the Hub to provide youth with opportunities for real-world experience through internships and job-shadowing.
But this isn’t to say that the downstairs space will be reserved solely for students; in fact, it’s open to “anyone with any event.” The organizers have been in touch with many groups throughout the community to gauge their interests and needs: local libraries, The Cooperage Project in Honesdale, county officials and the Wayne Economic Development Corporation, among others.
“It’s important for a community to be able to touch all the different aspects of interest that enriches the culture, it helps the entire economic fabric of the community,” Carletti said. She added that doing the soft opening of the Eddy Studio while “refining” the downstairs space has allowed them to “take a temperature” of Hawley residents and find out what sort of events they respond to most.
Being flexible and constantly evolving is at the heart of the Hawley Hub’s mission; in fact, it’s even in the name. “The Eddy Studio”—aside from being an homage to the Paupack Eddy—is a metaphor for how the Hub wants to let new ideas and culture continually flow against the constant of Main Avenue of Hawley, the way an eddy is formed in a river when water flows against the main current. Hence the Hub’s tagline: “Currently creating.”
“We really want it to be versatile and we want it to be open to whatever ideas people have,” Hoffmann said.
As the team keeps working on renovating the downstairs space, they are also considering grants that may help them through development. They’ve met with the strategic planning group Wayne Tomorrow and have plans to apply for state funding “on the horizon.”
In the studio this fall, the Hub will be offering various dance classes for ages 3 through 7, 8 through 14 and 15 and up on Monday evenings, Broadway workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays, pre-ballet, musical theater dance and “dancercise” classes on Tuesdays, art classes on Wednesdays, yoga on Fridays and Saturdays, and guided meditation on Sundays. They are also planning to hold senior citizens jazz and line dancing classes on Mondays and Thursdays.
The organizers are looking for more instructors to teach any kind of classes the studio space could be conducive to.
“The important thing is to have a vision of what you want to offer,” Carletti said. “And unique is great, something different and novel.”
They are also interested in bringing more young people from the area onto the team as interns.
Those interested in getting involved with the Hub can contact the team by email at email@example.com, through its Facebook page or by filling out a form available on its website, www.thehawleyhub.com.
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