LAC board still working toward theater
Although a wonderful fall evening helped make Sunday's Lumberyard Arts Center's Bluegrass and Barbecue a success, its organizers where thinking about completing a different venue for events with the weather can't be counted on to cooperate.
Those attending the Bluegrass and Barbecue didn't need protection from the elements, but as temperatures drop and winter approaches Lumberyard Arts Center committee members are constantly reminded about the second half of the building's project.
Event organizers took advantage of a mild fall evening and set up a tent in the lot east of the arts center where those attending the fundraiser could enjoy of the food and music.
However, art center board members would like to see the entire building finished and the music moved inside to the back where a future theater will be located.
“We're thrilled that it is there,” board member Tony Brown said. “We're just limited in what we can do in that space. It's nice to have people outside during the nice fall weather, but if we have something in the winter, it would be nice to put a band or something in the back theater.
“We're working hard on that project. We certainly continue to want to see that part of the Lumberyard completed.”
The downtown Baldwin City home for the arts opened in May 2010 to the public after six and a half years of construction and hard work. The opening portion of the building was just half of the entire project.
The front half includes office space, a small kitchen, an art gallery and rooms for local events and fundraisers. Numerous gallery openings and events have been held inside the art center since it was opened 17 months ago.
“It's becoming an anchor for downtown, which is what we want it to be,” Brown said. “It's been used a lot since it was opened. Right now, we're focused on maintaining the front, including the art gallery.”
While the arts center has served as a home to the arts and events since it was opened, there are plans to finish the building in the future. The original plans called for a 184-person theater in the back of building. The door to the proposed theater was designed and painted.
The Lumberyard Arts Center board has considered shrinking the plans for the theater while donations and fundraising efforts continue.
“We started off with pretty grand plans,” Brown said. “Right now, we are trying to revise those and be a little bit more bare bones, so that we can get the funds to do that project. There is also a space limitation as well. A theater takes up a lot of space and we're dealing with limited amount of space to build a stage and have places for people to sit. We trying to scale it back, so that we can do something that will be nice but that will be financially viable."
A one-step-at-a-time approach has worked at the arts center in the past.
“If we can start small and build on that, like we've done with the gallery," Brown said. "The gallery was originally just planned to be finished so we could get people inside and they could see what we were doing. Now, we're able to tweak it, add more stuff and make it nicer all of the time. That's what we might do with the theater, as well. We just hit a bad stretch during the last few years to ask for large donations for a project like this. We're hoping that changes sometime in the future.”