Cultural arts center celebrates tenth year on Main St.
March 1, 2017
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When you walk into the building at 402 W. Main St., you are welcomed to a room with shelves lined with ten years worth of public art from the Whitewater community including bikes, dragons, water jugs and birds.
This year, the Whitewater Arts Alliance and Cultural Arts Center (CAC) will celebrate its 10th year at White Memorial Hall, a building that has served as a cornerstone to the community for more than 100 years.
Linda Long, president of the Whitewater Arts Alliance, said their goal for the year-long decade-celebration at is to highlight their presence in the community and promote the events and activities they normally host. In addition, they plan to build on annual events, including adding a kid’s concert to their summer Savory Sounds concert series.
Long said, for the first time in a long time, the CAC calendar is full, with events planned for almost every month and more ideas in the planning stage Long said.
“I’m always looking to get more people in here, people who have never been here before,” Long said. “I won’t be happy until everybody’s been in here at least once.”
Community involvement has been essential to the growth and promotion of art for the past ten years.
Long attributes volunteer efforts from Public Works, local businesses and community members as incredibly helpful. She said support from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has been the biggest help, including help from faculty members Michael Flanagan and Interim Dean of Arts and Communication Robert Mertens. Volunteers at the CAC encourage students to visit and volunteer as a way to get service hours and contribute to promoting art in the community.
The CAC also supports students by hosting UW-W student art galleries and housing live theatre/dance performances from performing arts students.
“The support we have gotten from the city and the businesses in this town has been phenomenal,” Long said. “People really are amazed at the partnership that we have.”
The CAC is a unique asset to a small town relative to surrounding areas, Long said. Artists and art supporters from Milwaukee and Madison often contact the CAC hoping to get involved.
Long and volunteer Margie Stoneman have seen growth in attendance and quality of work since their involvement with the CAC began in 2009,.
“I think overall Whitewater Arts Alliance and the Cultural Center is more recognizable now then it was,” Stoneman said. “I think people know what this building is about now. I think people are excited to be involved on the board and as docents. It’s a win-win for us and the local businesses who sponsor us.”
Before 1991, the building served as a literary and educational center for the community as its original public library. Six years later, the CAC moved in and has been a hub for visual and performing arts ever since.
White Memorial Hall was built in 1904 and has housed many community services in its 100 year history including the Department of Public Works and Chamber of Commerce.
For more information and a calendar of events hosted by the CAC, visit www.whitewaterarts.org or visit White Memorial Hall Friday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The CAC welcomes all guests to enjoy the art displayed, visit with friends or work on homework.