Lanesboro Regional Art Center
Commission nears end of work
By John TorgrimsonMonday, October 8, 2001
Yvonne Nyenhius concentrated on her cross-stitch while she sat patiently and listened at the September 19 meeting of the Lanesboro Regional Art Center Commission.
As the owner of the White Front Cafe property in Lanesboro, Nyenhius has a vested interest in the Commission’s proceedings. Her property was one of four sites the Commission was looking at as a possible location for the proposed Root River Regional Arts Center.
The Commission, which convened in February, recently hired an independent appraiser to assess the market value of four contiguous properties along Parkway Avenue: the St. Mane Theatre, old Cheese Factory building, the White Front Cafe and the adjacent lot to the north.
The thinking behind the appraisals was that an art complex, with exhibition galleries, retail space, offices, classrooms, studios, a new 200+ seat theatre, and remodeled St. Mane Theatre, would be established on the four sites under the banner of the Root River Regional Arts Center.
It would involve a “united front” of art organizations in Lanesboro working directly together: the Commonweal Theatre, Cornucopia Art Center and the Lanesboro Art Council.
One of the problems with this thinking was the price tag - nearly $7 million to buy existing properties, re-develop them for re-use as art-specific space, and equip them. The price tag included a $1 million operating endowment.
The purpose of the meeting on September 19 was for the Commission to take a strong hard look at their priorities regarding the regional art center, and if need be, reassess art relationships. The last time the Commission had met was in June.Follow the money
In 1999, the Minnesota legislature allocated $100,000 to the city of Lanesboro to conduct a study into the feasibility of building a regional arts center. The money was to be used to develop an overall plan that included how a regional art center would be governed; what it’s business plan would look like; how the center would be marketed; and who the space would be used by, and how.
The city of Lanesboro was never consulted about the legislative action and were the last ones to be told of this “bounty” from the state. Nonetheless, without making any commitments beyond looking into the feasibility of a regional art center in Lanesboro, the .....[Read the Rest]