Wharton Pavilion Renovations

The long-term vision and plans for developing the historic Wharton Pavilion – also known as the Wharton Studio building – have recently evolved to encompass not only the Wharton Studio Museum (WSM) and its exhibits on Ithaca’s silent movie history, but also include displays focused on park history and the natural world. The Wharton Pavilion would become the park’s interior cultural and recreational center and also offer the public year-round lakefront event rental space for parties, gatherings, workshops etc.

In the short-term, Wharton Studio Museum, the local nonprofit leading the development of the Wharton Pavilion, in partnership with Friends of Stewart Park, is working to ensure that the former movie studio – one of a handful of silent film studios still standing in the country – is properly recognized and identified as a historic destination. This past spring, WSM was awarded funding by the Tompkins County Tourism Program for a Planning & Design Study for the building that will explore the concept of exhibits on the exterior of the building, the development of 1000 square feet of the interior for gallery space and landscaping on the lake-side of the building. This short-term approach to developing the Wharton Pavilion will give voice to Ithaca’s silent movie history and create a cultural destination in the park for residents and visitors alike.
See a detailed description in PDF format here.

Performance Plaza

In the 1890s, Renwick Park, now Stewart Park, hosted regular and well attended performances, by musical luminaries such as the Paddy Conway Band, in the bandstand located north of the Water Tower and between the Picnic and Wharton Pavilions. Friends of Stewart Park is proposing bringing back performance to this lakefront space by creating a stage and a decorative plaza in the current asphalt parking lot between the pavilions. Friends of Stewart Park is exploring design options and feasibility of a bandshell design that would be located along the lake edge, centered on the pavilions, and would accommodate the Ithaca Concert Band, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, and other popular music performances and festivals.
See a detailed description in PDF format here.