YARMOUTH — A proposal to open a nonprofit arts center in a former fire station on Center Street won preliminary approval tonight from the Town Council.

The council voted 5-2 to grant a 5-year lease to a group of local arts advocates who want to establish Firehouse Arts at Winslow Station. The agreement is subject to continuing negotiations with town officials and a final council vote in November.

The lease would give the group an option to buy the property after three years. The group would pay annual rent of $1 for the first two years of the lease and $5,000 for the last three years.

Under the lease, the town would save about $5,000 annually on utilities and maintenance of the building, which lately has been used for storage, said Town Manager Nat Tupper.

The arts center would offer lessons and workshops and provide a hub for local artists, supporters said. The group would renovate and operate the center using grants and fees charged for art programs.

Councilors Erv Bickford and Carl Winslow opposed the proposal; the station is named after Winslow, a former fire chief.