New Life in an Old Church – Old Presbyterian Church to Cultural Arts Center

All good stories have a strong beginning, an interesting middle and a strong ending. The Old Presbyterian Church had a strong beginning, a crazy – batty? middle and now as the Old Presbyterian Cultural Arts Center, a very fitting end.

Or maybe another beginning . . .

That’s how I ended a post back on June 18, 2012. The Old Presbyterian Church in Lancaster had just opened as the Old Presbyterian Cultural Arts Center. That post shared the history of this beautiful church, including the visit from one of General Sherman’s regiments during his march through the South, and the bats that left more than just a little bit of guano in the attic.

This post is about that another beginning . . . In 2019 ground broke for new additions – a lobby and green room with kitchenette. Last week those additions were revealed during a ribbon-cutting and open house. Lancaster native Jimmy Wilhide of Charlotte-based Mosley Architects designed the additions, keeping the integrity of the historical church intact, while creating a beautiful and functioning performance space. John Craig, President of the Lancaster County Society for Historical Preservation, used the word ‘recast’ during the ceremonies. Lancaster’s Cultural Arts Center is a classic example of how old buildings can be recast with new life.

Hubby and I have enjoyed so many concerts in the Cultural Arts Center over the last 8 years and we can’t wait to attend more in the years to come.

And now for a little tour . . .

Bagpiper on stage during the groundbreaking in 2019
2019 groundbreaking with SC Senator Greg Gregory and SC Representatives Mandy Powers-Norrell and Brandon Newton – all Lancaster residents
Front of the Cultural Arts Center. Original Old Presbyterian Church on the left, additions on the right. Front doors of the church were replaced with the bank of windows, while maintaining the original arches and transom windows
Side view of the Cultural Arts Center. New entry on the left, new green room/kitchenette on the right. A glass walkway connects the church to the green room/kitchenette
New entrance, making the Cultural Arts Center fully handicap accessible. The curved glass wall draws one’s attention to the restored stained-glass windows.
New lobby and concessions area, even the cabinets carry the arch design into the performance space.
Atrium where original front doors were located bring light into the former small and dark entryway.
Window above the atrium
A window once hidden in a storage room is now exposed, bringing color and light into the space where new meets old.
This glass walkway connects the performance area to the new green room/kitchenette, and gives an unobstructed view of the historic cemetery attached to the former worship space.
New green room/kitchenette
The additions with its bank of windows make the Cultural Arts Center and the cemetery feel more like a complete complex.

Old Presbyterian Church to see photos of the inside with its original fixtures, and to read the interesting history of this beautiful building.

To learn more about the Cultural Arts Center, to keep up with scheduled events, or to schedule an event – it’s open for weddings and other private gatherings!

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1 Response to New Life in an Old Church – Old Presbyterian Church to Cultural Arts Center

  1. quinonesev1 says:

    Thank you for your wonderful re-introduction to such a beautiful venue, Kim! I can’t wait to bump into you and Rick there sometime soon!

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