Archive for Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Contributions continue for arts center

December 30, 2003

The Lumberyard Arts Center project has experienced the spirit of giving, but it has not just been around the holidays.

Sandy Cardens and Diane Niehoff, arts center steering committee members, said since the arts center project officially kicked off with the Baldwin community in June, donations -- money and volunteer work hours -- have been pouring in.

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"From that first meeting, people have remained involved and have volunteered," Niehoff said.

In fact, more than 250 people have already either contributed money or volunteered their time cleaning and working at the downtown lumberyard building, 718 High St.

"We've gotten donations from five dollars to five thousand dollars and everything in between from individuals and organizations," Cardens said. "And we've had over 300 work hours donated by volunteers so far."

But the contributions and donations are going to have to continue if the arts center project is to be completed.

"I'm sort of counting on the volunteers and the fundraising," Cardens said.

The goal is to transfer the Ives Hartley Lumber Co. building into a community arts center, one that will house an exhibit gallery, a theater, a brick-lined courtyard, some classrooms, a kitchen and a retail area. It will be used as a place for local artists to display and sell their art, as well as space for art classes, workshops, plays, meetings and other events.

"We want to portray the fact this is not just for artists," Niehoff said. "It's for the community."

Cardens said a lease agreement is currently being negotiated with Baldwin State Bank, which owns the Ives Hartley building.

"They're being very generous with their property," she said.

While there have been some improvements made and events have already taken place in the building, she said, the construction process will really begin once a lease is in place.

In January, she said, an architecture class from Kansas State University will begin working on the designs for the interior of the building. The students' ideas will be presented to the community in March.

Cardens said grant writing, with the help of Baker University, has already begun to help fund the project.

Though the arts center committee is hopeful for grants, contributions will still be needed from the community. But the support so far, Niehoff said, has been great.

"We really appreciate and thank everybody for their contributions and efforts," she said.

Those that would like more information about the arts center project or would like to contribute can call Cardens at 594-4261 or Niehoff at 594-3244.

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