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Cornucopia and Commonweal withdraw from Lanesboro Center for the Arts project


Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Features

Citing the need to refocus their energies internally, two Lanesboro arts organizations have formally withdrawn from participating in the Lanesboro Center for the Arts (LCA) project.

Commonweal Theatre Com-pany and Cornucopia Art Center announced their decision to pull out of the partnership with the city of Lanesboro at the LCA’s board meeting on Monday, November 11.

The decison to withdraw follows several years of volunteer work and community discussion about the possibility of building a regional art center in Lanesboro. It included arts groups lobbying state legislators for $1 million in bonding that, if matched, could be used to help finance the creation of the center. The state also awarded the City of Lanesboro $100,000 to study how best to operate the art center, which would have leased space to Commonweal and Cornucopia.

A feasibilty analysis was completed by consulting firm George Sutton and Associates in March showing how the center might be operated. In April the Lanesboro City Council agreed to go into partnership with the two arts organizations on the condition that the operation was sustainable and not a burden to the city.

The Lanesboro Center for the Arts, with a nine member board of directors, was created in May with five directors appointed by the Lanesboro City Council and two representatives from each of the two arts organizations.

Both Cornucopia and Commonweal stated that part of their reason for withdrawing from the project had to do with the challenge and complexity of working within state bonding regulations, as well as the lack of confidence they had in the feasibility plan.

“The complexities of the bond requirements and the economic challenges currently facing our patrons and our organizations led us to this decision,” Phil Dybing, a member of the Cornucopia Board of Directors, stated in a press release.

Joe O’Connor, president of the Lanesboro Center for the Arts, commenting on the withdrawal of the two arts organizations from the project, said that

the Lanesboro Center for the Arts would continue forward with its mission.

“We will report to the Lanesboro City Council on Monday (tonight) about the status of the project to date and our intent to explore alternative courses of action,” O’Connor said. “The Board still views the creation of a Lanesboro Center for the Arts as a viable economic development and culturally enriching project for the entire community.”

Editor’s note: The writer of this story, John Torgrimson, is a city appointed representative to the Lanesboro Center for the Arts.

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