Witter Gallery asks $20,000 for restoration, youth classes

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The City of Storm Lake heard requests for funds totaling over $231,000 Monday from area agencies - including a $20,000 request from the Witter Gallery.

Ron Stevenson, director of the gallery requested funds for restoration and preservation efforts in the gallery including necessary shelving, lighting, humidifiers and restoration efforts of older paintings. Stevenson said it costs $10,000 alone to have a licensed appraiser come in to justify information for insurance. He also requested funds for continued youth classes.

Currently the gallery holds 33 classes from September to May for youth for ages 2 to 12 on Saturdays. Stevenson said the funds would help buy supplies for the classes and help pay for art classes for those children who cannot afford them.

He said the classes have been a good way for the children to express themselves. Stevenson said Faith, Hope and Charity, Genesis Development and Otsego Place come once a month for their own art classes.

Stevenson also presented some upcoming events the gallery is looking forward to including a regional blue ribbon art exhibit show coming to the gallery during the end of April and state show during the first week of May which will feature some of the "best of the best" Iowa artists, he says. In February they will have their annual Chocolate Extravaganza which offers guests all the chocolate they can eat for $5 which he says will be a big membership drive. Stevenson said they are looking at doing a $10,000 goal fundraiser this year.

After going through the gallery's expenses he said they put up a gift giving tree and will feature ornaments on the tree which will feature a specific cause or expense on each ornament like $7 for paper for newsletters. People can choose an ornament off the tree for a small expense or large expense up to $275 or write your own price, he says. Stevenson said the tree will be up year round and will change with the seasons.

Stevenson said they are also looking at an art auction and dinner possibly in September and are looking for artists to donate small pieces of art for the auction. The cardboard boat race was successful, reported Stevenson and said the gallery plans to sponsor the event this coming summer. He said they will look at selling cardboard boat kits. Stevenson said some families who came to Storm Lake for this past 4th of July event wanted to build a boat but didn't have the time to round up all the supplies.

Stevenson noted that they had seen about 600 people come through the gallery in October, above their typical average of about 450.

* The Centers Against Abuse and Sexual Assault requested $7,500 to help offset costs for services.

* Regional Transit Authority requested $15,000 to assist in providing transportation within the city limits.

* Community Education requested $80,000 to help cover salaries and benefits of three Community Education employees in helping to provide recreation and activities to all ages in the community.

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