The future looks merry and bright for the Scituate Arts Association after a successful Holiday House Tour that helped raise over $8,000 for the organization.
The money will support the organization, including helping pay off the mortgage on the Front Street Gallery space, beginning an endowment campaign for the Ellis House, and paying for operating expenses for the two locations.
Done every other year, the self-guided House Tour is a big undertaking for the organization and its participants, who find five to six volunteers that offer up their decorated houses for tours in the holiday season.
The tour culminates in a raffle and get together at the historic Ellis House, home to several Arts Association member studios.
According to Janet Cornacchio, president of the association, 40 to 50 volunteers helped put everything together this year, and preparations started two to three months before the early-December event.
Arts Association members also compiled a 60-page booklet detailing the history behind each home and its architecture.
“Since we are an organization that’s the arts and have a background in marketing, we tend to do something like that as a presentation piece. That’s probably the most labor-intensive part of the whole effort,” Cornacchio said.
The book, which contains advertisements, helped the organization make money to fund the project, leaving the revenue from ticket sales as a net gain.
This year, the group sold 250 tickets to the Dec. 9 tour, an increase from 200 in 2010.
“The first year we did it in 2006, we were happy to sell 100. There is a definite progression…and each time we’ve done it the number has gone up,” Cornacchio said.
Yet the biggest aspect to the holiday tour continues to be the houses.
A multistory home on Beaver Dam was a treat, a “Village Cottage” farmhouse on Gannett Road built in 1856 a historic addition.
A Greek Revival Farmhouse built in 1850 on First Parish Road detailed the history of Benjamin Brown. Finally, an expanded summer cottage in Norwell and a massive Classic Green Revival home on Norwell’s Main Street provided the stomping grounds for yet more beautiful homes and decorating ideas.
All of it culminates in an entertaining evening for visitors, and recognition for one of Scituate’s busiest organizations.
The awareness the event brings to the Arts Association and the Ellis House is one of the event’s major draws, Cornacchio said.
“That’s part of the reason for this too. It brings attention to [the Ellis House]. But it’s good to see the public in the building. This is one way to get people who wouldn’t normally go up there to see it,” Cornacchio said.
The fame of the building will come in handy as Cornacchio and her associates start the next step of the house’s restoration efforts, which include work on water infiltration.
Already, the organization has restored the roof, weatherized the building, and restored the historic mustard and maroon colors to the exterior.
With a festive gathering inside at the peak of the holiday season, the atmosphere was beginning to match the look of the home - reminiscent of the past.
“It was festive, fun, and people enjoyed it. It's good to see the Ellis used like that. You get inkling what it might have been like when people lived there in the Victorian era,” Cornacchio said.