In my last newsletter article I focused on the success of our first significant fundraising event, ART JIVE ONE. This month I want to let you know how the majority of the funds raised will be utilized. First and foremost, we are very excited to have an architect under contract! Judy Coutts (www.judycoutts.com) has come onboard for the preliminary services needed to get us ready to apply for grants; have an understanding of land development regulations and building code impacts on our project goals; identify phase one work and make decisions necessary for a construction budget to be developed.
Judy has been very involved in many projects in the Downtown Altoona area, which we view as a very positive aspect of her resume! She recently served as the President of the Downtown Altoona Business Community. She is currently in the developer role also at the former Dunmire Printing building near the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum, so we know that she will fully understand the many aspects of developing an old building that has been vacant for a period of time. I definitely appreciate her collaborative approach to her work and I am very much looking forward to working closely with her as we proceed.
The second use of the proceeds will be to stabilize the roof which is currently leaking in the back of the building; to get the contents which were abandoned by prior tenants cleaned out; to deal with the utilities for this phase of the work and possibly begin some of the internal demolition work. It is very exciting to be underway with our current primary focus – the conversion of the former Kress Building into the ArtsAltoona Studio Arts Center!
Our second current focus is on starting our After School Arts Program up again now that students are back in school. We were successful in receiving grant funding from the United Way of Blair County for this fiscal year, which will be very helpful in covering the costs of materials and consumables for use of the instructors and students. We are very pleased to have two new volunteer teachers stepping in for ASAP this year which will allow us to expand to more than one site. Terri Robbins is a retired art teacher in the Spring Cove School District. She has her own studio, The Robbins Nest, and she also teaches private art lessons. Annie Bickel, is an artist, photographer and educator. She is the owner of and photographer for Photographic Memories, LLC. She taught art for seven years in public schools. We are thrilled to have such quality people step up to work with us!
We are still focusing on the Junior High School grades (7 – 9) for students and we are working to develop new partner locations. We intend to initiate the first site for the fall at the Altoona Area Public Library in October. Recruitment for students is going on now. This is a free program that is open to any students in the area who wish to participate and can get to the site for the classes from 3:30 to 5:30pm. We hope to then add a second and possibly a third location, depending on the availability of our teachers and sites, as well as demand for the program from students.
I am asking all of you who are reading this newsletter to please help us spread the word about ArtsAltoona in your sphere of Influence! Suggest to your friends that they subscribe to the newsletter, that they Like and Follow our Facebook page and that they use our calendar website to know what it happening in the area. There is so much going on that sometimes people don’t realize!
If you are involved with an organization or a venue in the realm of arts, culture, history or heritage – please register and post your events on our calendar. Events posted to our calendar will be included in our weekly & monthly newsletters as well as on our Facebook page!
Thanks as always to Tony DeGol for writing two articles for this newsletter, I think that you will find them very interesting and I would be very surprised if you don’t learn something new!
I hope to see many of you at some of the great upcoming events in our community!When you see me please let me know that you read this and share your thoughts with me!
Thanks for connecting with ArtsAltoona!