Rendering of the Thornwillow Makers Village in Orange County

Empire State Development Announces the Groundbreaking of Phase 1 of The $1.6 Million Thornwillow Makers Village in Orange County

Initiative will foster creative growth in Newburgh’s East End Historic District, Transforming the Properties into an Iconic Destination for Craft and Artisanal Production

See Renderings Here

Empire State Development today announced the groundbreaking of Phase 1 of the $1.6 million Thornwillow Makers Village in Orange County, which will be located in Newburgh’s East End Historic District.  The Thornwillow Institute, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to promoting and perpetuating the art of craft in all its forms, will be investing $1.6 million in rehabilitating two historical properties to create studios, an art gallery and a public bookstore and café. The Thornwillow Makers Village will become an iconic destination for craft and artisanal production that encompass 100,000 square feet in and around five adjacent properties. Together with its anchor neighbors that include Atlas Studios, Habitat for Humanity and Wireworks, the East End Historic District of Newburgh will continue to bolster the City of Newburgh with economic development, creative programming and companies and residents.  

“Strategic downtown investments in communities like Newburgh play an important role in our economic recovery as we look to the post-pandemic future,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Today’s groundbreaking at Thornwillow Makers Village will not only further revitalize Newburgh’s historic East End District, it will boost small businesses, support and train artists, and spur further investment in the community.”

ESD Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “New York State's investment in artists is an investment in community, and one that will have a revitalizing civic and economic impact in Newburgh. The Thornwillow Makers Village will restore historic buildings as multi-faceted spaces for creativity and commerce, where people can gather to make and appreciate art.”   

Luke Pontifell, Founder and President, Thornwillow Institute said, "Over 15 years ago, Savine and I relocated Thornwillow Press to Newburgh and then later founded the Thornwillow Institute, our nonprofit training arm. We have never been more invested in the revitalization of the City of Newburgh alongside our commitment to teaching and perpetuating the arts and crafts of the written word, to supporting writers, artists, and artisans, and to revitalizing a distressed historic neighborhood than we are today. We could not be more grateful to reach this groundbreaking milestone with the tremendous support and partnership of the Governor and the Regional Economic Development Council. "

Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Donald P. Christian, President of SUNY New Paltz said, “The Thornwillow Institute is a mainstay of Newburgh's arts community, and its vision for the East End district reflects a deep commitment to the city's future. The Thornwillow Makers Village will realize that vision and no doubt become a destination for craft and artisanal production that will draw new visitors and artists to Newburgh and Orange County.”

Kicking off the groundbreaking with Phase 1, The Thornwillow Institute will renovate the 4,000 square-foot Willow Room and Residences (Corner Building).  The Corner Building will transform the ground floor into a community bookstore and café with a lab to teach and train on the art of bookbinding, offer master classes and partner with local institutions on the preservation of their archives and art collection. The second floor will house two apartments reserved for individuals participating in the Thornwillow Institute fellowship programs. To support this project, the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council has awarded an Empire State Development Capital Grant of $320,000 for reimbursement of a portion of construction and rehabilitation costs. 

In addition, the Thornwilllow Institute is grateful for the support of the Hearst Foundation, Rowley Family Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kickstarter Campaign, its Board of Directors and patrons for helping to make this project possible.

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, “I am delighted for the groundbreaking of the Thornwillow Makers Village to commence. This investment will not only spur economic growth and create new jobs, but also foster community, connections, and creativity amongst neighbors,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “Newburgh’s revitalization has been one of my top priorities in Congress, and I am happy to see this project come to life as we work to preserve this city’s historic treasures and build new community hubs.”

State Senator James Skoufis said, "I am thrilled to welcome Thornwillow Makers Village to Newburgh's burgeoning creative scene. As the Hudson Valley continues to make a name for itself as New York's craft capital, redevelopment projects that build on this artisan momentum are driving employment, tourism, and a true economic recovery for many of our region’s communities. Newburgh's East End will soon be home to another well-deserved hub for creative collaboration."

Assemblymember Jonathan G. Jacobson said, “Throughout the Hudson Valley, we have seen the power of the arts to fuel economic development and growth while also offering creative programming to local residents. As we emerge from the pandemic-induced economic crisis, I am pleased to see Thornwillow Makers Village begin to take its place in Newburgh’s historic East End. As it adds a book store, cafe, and studio space to its existing artisanal book-binding operation, Thornwillow will soon make this corner of Newburgh a destination spot for locals and tourists alike."

Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said, “The arts are an important part of Orange County and The Thornwillow Makers Village will be an asset to Newburgh. The project will provide vital educational opportunities for artists and refurbish historic buildings in Newburgh’s East End, which will benefit the city.”

City of Newburgh Mayor Torrance R. Harvey said, “I would like to thank Governor Cuomo, Empire State Development, the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council and all other stakeholders & partners for believing in the vision of Thornwillow Makers Village in our historic East end!  This aligns with our revitalization efforts and ten year master plan. This moment is a game changer!  Our downtown revitalization efforts are getting closer to our goals and aspirations for a healthy and more vibrant city. It will foster economic & creative growth that’s unimaginable!   We shall continue to shape our cities future through creative & innovative collaboration!"


Kristin Devoe | [email protected] | (518) 414-1087

ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313