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Fort Hill Performing Arts Center aims for $100,000 in fundraising

The Fort Hill Performing Arts Center (FHPAC) in Canandaigua has set an ambitious fundraising goal of $100,000 for its 2023 campaign.


In a significant boost to this effort, the Sands Family Foundation, associated with the founders of Constellation Brands Wine Co., has pledged to match every donation dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000. This generous matching gift was announced by Gordon Estey, president of the FHPAC Board of Directors, who emphasized that each contribution, regardless of size, is crucial for the center’s continued operations and diverse programming.

The FHPAC’s mission, as outlined by Sueann Townsend, its executive director, is to enrich the cultural landscape of the greater Finger Lakes region. This initiative is made possible by donations that support a wide range of quality entertainment and visual and performance arts. The center, recognized for its historic and cultural significance, serves as a beacon of artistic expression in the area.

The FHPAC, located in a structure originally built in 1928 as an annex to the 1907 Canandaigua Academy High School, has a storied history. It once included a large auditorium, gymnasium, swimming pool, and various other facilities. The building underwent several transformations, serving as a junior high school and later being partially converted into senior citizen housing by Conifer Realty LLC in 1995. A community-driven initiative in 2015 explored the potential of transforming the unused annex space into a performing arts center. This led to the formation of FHPAC as a non-profit, which purchased and renovated part of the annex. The transformed space, resulting from a successful $6 million fundraising campaign, opened as the modern FHPAC on January 10, 2020.