The Art Effect was born on January 1, 2018, as a result of the merger of Spark Media Project and Mill Street Loft, two impactful arts nonprofits based in Poughkeepsie, NY. With this merger, The Art Effect became a single, powerful arts education and youth development agency serving youth across the Hudson Valley. In 2021, The Art Effect became affiliated with Barrett Art Center, a step towards a full merger. The affiliation allowed The Art Effect to not only maintain the knowledge, direction, and engagement that Barrett brings to the community, but also to a new curatorial initiative.

Mill Street Loft

Mill Street Loft was founded in 1984 by Carole Wolf. Mill Street Loft delivered arts-based programming that has transformed the lives of thousands of residents and their families. Through visual arts courses, camps, and community programs, Mill Street Loft was committed to supporting personal growth, fostering self-expression, and enhancing human services through the arts in order to rebuild a shared sense of community.

Spark Media Project

Spark Media Project was founded in 1994 (originally named Children’s Media Project) by Maria Marewski. Spark Media Project, a media art, technology, and education organization, served young people, artists, schools and organizations in the Hudson Valley, with a focus on using media as a tool for creative expression, critical thinking, and skills development.

Barrett Art Center

Since its founding as the Dutchess County Art Association (aka Barrett Art Center) in 1935, the organization’s mission has been to foster and perpetuate an appreciation of the visual arts in the Hudson Valley through exhibitions, education, and preservation. Barrett Art Center sustains its diverse contemporary art community by bringing together thousands of participants each year through collaborative art and history programs to reach diverse audiences in its inner-city neighborhood.

In 2021, The Art Effect officially began its affiliation with Barrett Art Center, bringing together the largest arts organization with the oldest arts organization in Dutchess County. The affiliation opens doors of new opportunities for The Art Effect and Barrett Art Center, creating spaces that match the breadth of the combined mission and merged identity—a true manifestation of their shared vision where youth and community come together to create and experience art in all of its forms. The affiliation is the first stage of what is anticipated will be a full acquisition and merger coming soon!

With the opening of the new 3,000 square-foot Trolley Barn Gallery for exhibitions and classes, The Art Effect is continuing to nurture and grow Poughkeepsie’s vibrant art scene and help revitalize Main Street.