Snoopy, Garfield, and Bugs Bunny were just some of the cartoon characters that Lori Fisher would meticulously draw as a kid.

“As I got older, my cartoon characters became still-life, portraits, and other images that piqued my interest at the time,” says Lori.

Today, Lori continues to pursue her passion for the arts and serves as Deputy Director of the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County, where she curates exhibits of art from nearly 200 local artists and artists from around the world.

“A favorite part of my job is to hang the work of other artists,” says Lori. “I love being alone in the gallery with art surrounding me and hanging a show that is complementary to the work itself and to the artist.”

Founded in 2008 by Patricia House, the Bellefonte Art Museum is located in the Linn House on North Allegheny Street. The house was originally built in 1810 by Philip Benner, a pioneer ironmaster in Centre County.

“Art can be a great way to rehabilitate a community, especially if it has historic properties,” says Patricia, “and this place was just waiting for something to happen”.

The Bellefonte Art Museum provides enrichment to the community through diverse programming that includes interactive art shows, poetry readings, and cultural exhibits. One of these exhibits is now permanently installed and remembers the role of the region in the operations of the Underground Railroad.

“We found old plans of the building that showed that there was a dwelling in the attic, so we tore down some walls, crawled through the attic, and found this room,” says Patricia. “It’s both haunting and beautiful and has awakened people in the community.”

Although small, the Bellefonte Art Museum has become a mighty force in the revitalization of Bellefonte, helping it to evolve into a destination town for many.

In recent years, the nonprofit has received funding from Centre Foundations’s Giving Circle members to support both the annual Imagination Celebration and its Art of the Americas exhibit. The Bellefonte Art Museum also participates in Centre Gives, raising $18,806 in 208 and $18,368 in 2019.

Additionally, the Bellefonte Art Museum established an endowment fund, the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County Fund, to celebrate the museum’s 10th Anniversary in 2018. This fund supports the primary mission of the museum, which is to make the arts accessible to all.

Grant money that went to the Bellefonte Art Museum through Centre Gives, the Giving Circle, and endowment funds totaled $21,806 in 2018.

“I’d really like to continue to build our endowment fund,” says Patricia. “The museum has been doing so well, and it needs to be saved for years to come.”