After a 2021 fire destroyed the original building, Hole in the Wall opens a reimagined and universally accessible space for its Camp community
New Haven, Conn., March 21, 2023 – Today, two years after a devastating 2021 fire at Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Connecticut, Camp leaders joined Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Hole in the Wall corporate partners, local first responders, volunteers, staff, families and more, for a special grand opening and ceremonial ribbon cutting of the newly rebuilt Creative Complex – a space where creative dreams become reality.
"As we celebrate this momentous occasion, we are filled with gratitude for the thousands of friends from all corners of our community who have made this moment possible,” said Camp CEO Jimmy Canton. “Their generous outpouring of love and support has allowed us to build an exquisite space where campers and families can forge friendships and create lifelong memories as they experience the joy, hope and healing of Hole in the Wall.”
While preserving the whimsical Old West façade, the reimagined space uses the latest in universal design to maximize access and support the current, future and varied needs of Hole in the Wall’s children and families. In addition to reimagined program spaces including The Alley Cats Café & Cooking Zone, Uncle Kasey’s Korner Woodshop and The Grateful Heart Art Nook, the 11,000-square-foot building features an open concept main level to promote participant autonomy and provide a more collaborative creative space. The new Serenity Room is a dedicated area for parents and caregivers, while The Quiet Corner offers a calm space for those who need a break from the hustle and bustle of Camp. There is also a spacious back deck for outdoor programming, along with a Camp store on the lower level of the building. Keeping sustainability at the forefront, the facility uses geothermal heating and cooling, preventing 77 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually.
A centerpiece of the new building is a mosaic art installation by Mia Schon, a former Camp staff member and Tel Aviv- and Boston-based mosaic artist. Comprised of more than 4,000 pieces to represent the more than 4,000 donors who supported this project, the mosaic is intended to remind everyone who walks into the space of the transformational impact of Camp, the power of art to lift our spirits, and the generosity of a community of compassionate people who stepped forward when the need was great.
Funding for the Creative Complex was supported by a generous outpouring of support immediately following the fire, including a $1 million commitment from Travelers and the Travelers Championship, a second $1 million gift from Newman’s Own Foundation, and generous donations from more than 4,000 Camp supporters.
About The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp:
Founded in 1988 by Paul Newman, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp provides “a different kind of healing” to thousands of seriously ill children and family members annually – all completely free of charge. For many of these children and families, Hole in the Wall provides multiple Camp experiences throughout the year at the facility in Ashford, Conn., in dozens of hospitals and clinics, directly in camper homes and communities, and through other outreach activities across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Learn more at www.holeinthewallgang.org.