Imagine a creative environment full of children who are engaged in the arts, building positive peer and mentoring relationships, and are surrounded by a safe and secure environment. Imagine a place where children of all ages, races, socio-economic statuses, and religions can work together, think together and create together. A place where creative thought is nurtured, students’ individuality and efforts are celebrated, and students are challenged to stretch their minds. A place where young people are encouraged to grow, learn and lead through hands-on learning experiences that provide practical and artistic skills that help them prepare them for their futures.
Infinity Visual and Performing Arts has become that place; a program that fuses arts education, talent showcasing opportunities, and mentorship for young people into one complete experience; a place to “Explore! Experience! and Excel!”
Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, Inc. is a multifaceted, innovative music and arts education program located in Jamestown, NY. The Infinity concept was developed as an opportunity for aspiring young musicians to develop and enhance their creative talents and performance skills under the supervision and guidance of local, professional musicians and educators. The name Infinity was chosen to represent the potential for future growth and participation for youth throughout the community. What began in a parent’s living room in 1998 with a group of seven talented young musicians has evolved into a comprehensive visual and performing arts non-profit organization housed in a 14,100 sq. ft. performance and learning center that serves more than 2,000 students each year in various program components. In its formative years, Infinity was nurtured under the umbrella of the Arts Council for Chautauqua County. In 2004 a volunteer Board of Directors was formed and with guidance and support from the Arts Council and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Infinity was incorporated on January 20, 2005. Federal IRS 501(c)(3) status was achieved October 4, 2005. Infinity’s founder, Ron Graham, retired in 2008 after 10 years of service to Infinity and long-time employee Shane Hawkins was promoted to the position of director in 2009. Since 2010, Infinity programming has expanded beyond music to include art, dance, theater and literature experiences and classes. In 2011, adult classes and birth to five year old music and art opportunities were added to Infinity program options.
In 2014, in order to accommodate the growing number of students, the Infinity Center relocated to a new, custom-designed facility in the ground floor of the Lynn Building, at 301 East 2nd St. This move was made possible thanks to generous help and support from local and regional funders, private donations, and a grassroots community fundraising campaign. The Lynn building provides 14,100 sq ft of dedicated lesson and office space which allows Infinity programs to continue growing and meeting the needs of our community well into the future!
Infinity provides a unique environment and experience for a broad cross-section of area young people. Program access is guaranteed to any student demonstrating a desire to pursue learning in the visual and performing arts, without regard to gender, ethnicity, social or religious background, prior experience, or ability to pay. Infinity is a place where creative growth is cultivated and nurtured by a networked team of dedicated adult mentors, community supporters and area music and arts professionals.
Why are the arts important?
- Infinity is dedicated to helping kids “Explore! Experience! and Excel!”
- Music and arts education leads to increased self-esteem, confidence, and personal discipline and is beneficial in cognitive, motor, and language development.
- Music, art, dance, and theater classes stimulate memory and imagination.
- Creative activities provide a healthy outlet for emotions, feelings and ideas.
- Students are able to socialize with other creative peers in a safe, supportive and engaging environment.
- Involvement in music, visual arts, dance and theater is FUN!
November, 1998 Infinity is founded by Ron Graham, a group of community leaders and interested parents. Instruction is given in private homes until space is leased from the Arts Council for Chautauqua County in the Swanson Building, on Third Street, in Jamestown.
January, 2005 The “Infinity Performing Arts Project” is renamed “Infinity Performing Arts Program,” and is spun off from the Arts Council for Chautauqua County, becoming a freestanding New York corporation with not-for-profit 501(c)(3) status.
September, 2006 Infinity moves to larger (5,300 square-foot) quarters at 115 E. 3rd Street in Jamestown.
December, 2008 Founder Ron Graham retires.
January-July, 2009 Eric Pearson serves as interim executive director.
May, 2009 Water damage and flooding from the parking ramp renovation above the Infinity space causes all programming to be relocated to Jamestown High School and the Crown Theater for four months.
August, 2009 209 students benefit from Infinity programming during the 2008-09 program year.
September, 2009 Infinity moves back in to the 115 E. 3rd St. facility.
October, 2009 Program coordinator Shane Hawkins is named executive director. A concentrated rebranding/marketing effort and strategic plan to reinvent and restructure Infinity is developed.
July, 2010 Summer Camp is introduced to Infinity opportunities.
August, 2010 749 students benefit from Infinity programming during the 2009-10 program year.
September, 2010 Infinity’s name is legally changed to “Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, Inc.” to reflect planned expanded programming.
January, 2011 Instruction in art and dance, and adult lessons are added to Infinity opportunities.
August, 2011 999 students benefit from Infinity programming during the 2010-11 program year.
September, 2011 Infinity expands by leasing 3,600 adjacent square feet of office space, increasing the size of the facility to 8,600 square feet to accommodate the growing art and dance programs.
August, 2012 1,591 students benefit from Infinity programming during the 2011-12 program year.
January, 2013 Theater classes are added to Infinity opportunities.
August, 2013 2,018 students benefit from Infinity programming during the 20012-13 program year.
September, 2013 Infinity begins a pilot music education program in the Head Start Program in Dunkirk and Jamestown using Infinity’s developing Creative Education Model.
October, 2013 Infinity introduces an intern program for interested students.
February, 2014 Spring Break Camp and Literature classes are introduced to Infinity programming options.
October, 2014 Infinity relocates to a brand new, custom-designed facility on the ground floor of the Lynn Building, 301 E. 2nd St. thanks to generous support from local and regional funders, businesses, and community members. The new space provides 14,100 sq. ft. of learning and performance space.