Foundation gives $325K to ArtWorks Center
The Austin Area Commission for the Arts hasn’t even kicked off its capital campaign for the new ArtWorks Center, but it’s already more than halfway to its goal.
The Hormel Foundation unanimously voted Tuesday to give a $325,000 grant to the ArtWorks Center project, a donation Executive Director Jennie Knoebel described as vital to reaching commission’s $600,000 capital campaign goal.
“We knew that it was critical to helping the project move forward,” she said.
After the success of the Austin ArtWorks Festival and other positive signs for the arts, foundation Chairman Gary Ray described the vote as an easy decision.
“We’re totally behind it and are a big supporter of what they’re doing,” Ray said.
To Ray, the the community has shown a keen interest in the promoting the arts, and he referenced the many people that have volunteered their time promoting the arts in recent years.
While Knoebel said it would have been difficult — if not impossible — to move forward without funds from the foundation, she is still calling for the community to get behind the project. Any donation will help tremendously, she said.
“We need to do it with the full community’s support,” Knoebel said.
The commission is still in negotiations to lease the bank building, 300 N Main St., and Knoebel said they’re getting closer. Though there’s still details to be ironed out, the official capital campaign will kick off soon.
“As soon as we are ready, we’re going to launch the official campaign,” she said.
Ray also envisioned the ArtWorks Center benefitting the community in multiple ways. With the center likely being located in the bank building, Ray said it could help the foundation’s continued efforts to boost downtown.
“We’re just extremely excited about supporting that fine effort,” Ray said.
The goal is to start construction on the ArtWorks Center in March or April. Knoebel said classes could start at the center in June or July as a soft open ahead of a grand opening during the third ArtWorks Festival Aug. 23 and 24.
The $600,000 will go toward renovations to the ArtWorks Center, as well as supplies, furniture and other things needed to make the center happen, according to Knoebel. It will not go toward the lease.
The commission raised $6,500 through the Buy Art! fundraiser Jan. 17 and when it sold art donated by the Cedar Gallery in Owatonna. There is still art leftover, and Knoebel said it will likely be sold online at some point.