Taking Center Stage
Pat Waterman, the original do-everything-lady for the Deane Center for the Performing Arts (actually, her title was “office manager”—she’s retired now), remembers that “one of the first things we had not long after we opened” was a wedding. It’s a bit of a trend—Executive Director Kevin Connelly estimates the Deane Center has hosted fifty or more nuptials.
When Harold and Ivah Deane provided their generous bequest to create a “home for the arts” in Tioga County, they perhaps could not have envisioned what their namesake, the Deane Center for the Performing Arts on Main Street in Wellsboro, would become. Opened in 2012, created from the space that once housed the Davis Furniture Store, the Deane Center is now not only a place for everything from live music and theater to exercise classes and board meetings, it is a wedding venue.
Mary DeBockler, the office administrator, explains that there are a lot of space options at the facility, and provides a tour of what’s available. There are several rooms of varying sizes on the second floor that make charming wedding settings—some with tall windows overlooking the borough’s famed gaslit boulevard, some with exposed brick walls, and all with tables and chairs that can be configured just about any way that suits the occasion.
“In most cases people can come in the day before and set up,” Mary says. As for decorating, she adds that “it’s amazing what they can do with the rooms.”
Also on the second floor are rooms the bridal parties can use for changing clothes or relaxing (or trying to) before the big moment. A small kitchen area, while not suitable for cooking, is available for limited food preparation—slicing, dicing, arranging snacks on platters, that sort of thing.
On the main floor is the Coolidge Theatre, a black box space that can seat up to 225, depending, again, on how the tables and chairs are configured. For decorating purposes, it resembles a blank slate, with lighting and ornamenting possibilities limited only by the imagination. “If you book the theatre, you get the lobby, too,” Mary says, and that opens up more space for the reception or other pre- and post-ceremony activities. Space for dancing can be made both upstairs and downstairs. The building is handicapped accessible, and speakers and WiFi are available as well.
When the weather is nice, a Deane Center wedding can take place under a tent in the lot next to the building. As for food, beverages, and music, the wedding party can opt for any caterer, bartender, DJ, or live band they want. The facility is also available for bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, or other pre-wedding events. Several brides who celebrated their nuptials at the Deane Center have returned to have their baby showers here, which, Mary says, “is neat, because you get know people.”
Mary notes that there are flexible payment arrangements that can be made. “We do have weddings booked into 2020,” she adds, so if you’re interested in having your special day at the Deane Center for the Performing Arts, call (570) 724-6220, or visit deanecenter.com.