Archive for Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Community meeting set for arts center

June 11, 2003

The Baldwin Community Arts Council wants to hear from the community about a possible downtown arts center.

Plans are underway to convert the Ives Hartley Lumber Co. building, 718 High St., which until recently housed the Baldwin Lumber Co., into a community arts center.

Sandy Cardens, BCAC president, said the organization would like community input about the arts center, so an informational meeting has been set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, at the Baldwin City Public Library.

"Anyone with interest in this is invited," Cardens said. "This is an opportunity for everybody to have their input. We want comments and suggestions."

Nothing has been finalized, but she said the BCAC wants a community center that will centralize Baldwin's arts activities, events and projects while benefiting Baldwin's downtown.

"The arts can attract visitors to town, which in turn brings customers to the businesses already here," she said. "Economically, this can really, really be helpful."

A rough draft of the arts center maps out space for an exhibit gallery, a theater, a brick-lined courtyard, some classrooms, a kitchen and a retail area.

She said the idea is to have a place for local artists to display and sell their art, as well as space for art classes, workshops and plays.

A cost for the arts center is not yet known, she said, because it will depend on the final plans.

BCAC is currently working on an agreement with Baldwin State Bank, which owns the Ives Hartley building, but Cardens said community support is necessary.

"We need to show the property owners that we have people who will step up and work on the project and donate money for the project," she said. "We're looking for pledges from citizens in the area to show not only the bank, but also when we apply for grants, that we have interest from the community that we support the project."

Cardens said two possible floor plans will be available for viewing at the meeting, as well as information from other towns who have arts centers.

This will also be a time, she said, for people to ask questions and share ideas.

"It's helpful to have the input now instead of later down the road," she said.

Volunteers will also be needed, she said, to serve on a committee to get the project going in the right direction.

"This is not going to be a Baldwin Community Arts Council project," she said. "This is going to be a community project."

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