Community Arts Center will open soon

August 31, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Classes will start at the Community Arts Center Oct. 1. The non-profit has borrowed more than $450,000 to finish restoration of the Federal Building on Main and Fourth streets in time.

This fall, ceramics, piano, ballet, willow furniture making, Tai Chi, hula and oil painting classes will be held in the center. Arts for Kids and Community Education also plan to house programs in the building. By November, the grand opening will be held, and the gift shop and coffee shop opened.

Instructors and programs are doing independent advertising, but the center will publish a winter class schedule in early autumn.

The group will set user fees on Monday. Executive Director Wilma Brown expects the fees to be moderate, and set at an amount that will cover utilities.

The fees will not defray the bill for renovation.

Families and businesses have contributed $34,000 to the center.

Add that to the money given by local governments and grants and the total is $620,800, still well shy of the $1.1 million renovation costs.


Private individuals have put up personal property as collateral for the loan from Farmers National Bank.

"I'm serious when I say that this town has been really generous," Brown said.

She hopes that as the building opens and people see what the arts center is about that there will be more donations. The center will open under the name Community Arts Center, but Brown said, only half-joking, that it could be changed for whoever would donate $1 million.

Low interest rates have made grants for construction costs scarce, Brown said. Foundations typically award grants with the interest earned from endowments.

Without advertising, Brown has already booked a wedding rehearsal dinner for January. She hopes that more private parties will use the grand hall space in the building. A caterer's kitchen has been added off the hall.

The building's walls will be painted off-white, so art may be exhibited.

There will be space for juried or invited artists and those who are not. All art exhibits will be free and open to the public.

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