Arts center receives donations
Groups and individuals from Baldwin City, the area and even across the country have stepped to the plate with donations to make the Lumberyard Arts Center project start to become a reality.
The arts center will be located in the old Ives-Hartley Lumberyard building in downtown Baldwin. The Baldwin Lumber Co. closed about a year ago, leaving the century-old building unoccupied.
Numerous advocates of the arts came up with the idea of the arts center, which would be used for theater presentations, various art-related uses and classes on various subjects. A public meeting was held in June to kick off the project and it is starting to pick up steam.
"We are really appreciative of the people in the community that have helped," said Sandy Cardens, one of the project leaders. "Between cash money, gifts in kind and donated labor, we're up to $17,000."
The project received its biggest boost when the Baldwin Community Arts Council voted at its October meeting to donate $5,000 to the project to become the first group at the Benefactor level of contributions.
"That's the biggest donation yet," said Cardens. "We have two or three $1,000 gifts, one from the city and another by a private citizen to be used to print our new brochures on the project.
"Of course we're grateful to the Baldwin State Bank for allowing us access to the property for the purpose of using it for the Maple Leaf Festival and the second-annual Holiday Arts sale," she said. "We're still working out details on a lease or a lease/purchase of the building with the bank."
BCAC has been one of the project's strongest backers and advocates of the project and hoped to build momentum for the project through its donation, said BCAC president Laura Morford.
"The board of directors voted unanimously to give the $5,000 contribution to the project in an effort to show its support and dedication toward making the downtown arts center a reality," said Morford. "We hope other clubs, organizations and other groups will also get behind this community-wide project and make the center something we can all be proud of."
Cardens said there are six contribution levels for tax-deductible donations: Premier, $20,000 and up; Benefactor, $5,000 to $19,999; Patron, $1,000 to $4,999; Associate, $500 to $999; Sponsor, $100 to $499; and Friend, up to $99. Information will be available at the lumberyard over the Maple Leaf Festival weekend on how to make contributions. Of course, they'll also be accepted on the spot and there are several activities planned to help raise money.
"We've got a list of 56 names that have helped so far and they'll be recognized in a display that we will have there this weekend," said Cardens. "People who have helped have been from throughout the community and beyond. We've had one donation from Texas. We have support from a wide section of the community.
"They have read about the project in the Signal or the Web site and have helped out. It's a wide range from (State Rep.) Tom Holland, to Jim Niehoff and one guy from rural Baldwin who just came in and worked like a trooper," she said.
There have been several work days at the center and there will be more in the future. Cardens encourages everyone to stop by the center over the weekend, see what's already been done and how the project will proceed.