Archive for Thursday, October 6, 2005

A bank boost for the arts

October 6, 2005

Heading into the second annual Blues & BBQ Saturday, the Lumberyard Arts Center received a boost from the Baldwin State Bank, which owns the lumberyard building.

"We'd like to announce that we've come to a formal agreement with the

Baldwin State Bank on use of and future ownership of the building," said Sandy Cardens, who has spearheaded the arts center project from the start. "We've signed a Contract for Deed which gives us a specific time frame for raising the necessary funding. Of course we're actively pursing grants and individual contributions toward that end.

"We need to raise at least $400,000 in the next couple of years to make this happen," said Cardens. "We welcome any help, suggestions and, of course, financial help from the public to help us reach that goal."

Fund-raising efforts have been ongoing for some time, and the second Blues & BBQ is one of the biggest. Despite the threat of rain Saturday, this year's version was another good one.

"What a blast," said Cardens. "That was a direct quote from one of our first-time guests

last night. We heard nothing but positive comments all night long. You'd think we knew how to throw a party. I don't think we beat last year on income, primarily due to the threat of rain, but we'll come close. We have a pledge from Wal-Mart to match funds we raised at the BBQ, up to $1,000 -- that will really give us tremendous boost.

"We probably need to thank Mother Nature for moving us inside," she said. "It was extremely well received by guests and musicians and the volunteers who made it happen. It also gave people in the community a better idea of what can be done in our Lumberyard Arts Center."

One of those first-time event attenders was Tina Rakes, who brought her daughters. She said it was the perfect example of the reason they moved to a smaller town.

"It was just a wonderful evening for us," said Rakes. "It was a very, very fun evening that I'd like to see happen more in future years of Baldwin.

"I just think for Baldwin City these are the type of things families like to do and take their children to," she said. "And, it's very supportive of the downtown district."

The evening offered a heaping plate of barbecue with all the trimmings, plus music provided by a host of performers, including Baldwin native Glen Stansberry and Route 56, a Baldwin favorite.

Everything was just right, said Rakes, and she credited Cardens.

"I thought that it was orchestrated so well," said Rakes. "I know things like that are hard to put together. Just the ambiance of the Christmas light icicles and chairs arranged made for a good feeling.

"When you came in the door, it was smooth," she said. "The food was excellent and the music was a lot of fun. I really did enjoy it."

The event has become one of the most popular for the lumberyard fund-raising effort, which has raised around $120,000. It's likely to be a yearly fixture.

I'm positive we want to continue having this event every year," said Cardens. "I want to thank everyone in the community who came down for dinner, our sponsors, the musicians and the volunteers who put in many hours of work for all their contributions to the second annual Blues & BBQ."

Such an event is impossible without plenty of volunteers. The LACP had plenty of those to put on the musical feast.

"We had so much help from so many people on the committees to name names, but if we were to single people out to give credit, it would have to be to Diane Niehoff, Linda Ballinger, Annie France, Jim Niehoff and Laura Dickinson," Cardens said. "It would not have happened without every one of them."

There was also a special dedication that went along with this year's event in the memory of Katharine Kelley, a long-time community supporter who died Sept. 27.

"We were honored to dedicate the event to our community treasure, our friend and one of the first Founding Donors of the LACP, Katharine B. Kelley," said Cardens. "She seemed to truly enjoy the first Blues & BBQ and I think she would have liked this one even more."

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