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New area arts hub a collaboration

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Ian Gronau | April 7, 2014

BELOIT -- After acquiring the First Presbyterian Church on Prospect Street at auction two years ago, Jody and John Wittnebel, and their kids, Brittnay, Johnny, Ian and Jack, hatched an ambitious plan for the old building.

After many long hours and late nights, the doors have begun to reopen.

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The former church, now known as The Castle at 501 Prospect, will host the B.A.R.N. Festival April 12.

B.A.R.N., or Beloit Artist Resource Network is the brainchild of Beloit College senior Marilu Wiesner. It's a loose-knit group of artists across many mediums dedicated to building a new scene and adding to the existing scene for the arts in Beloit.

"The Beloit Artist Resource Network is not an organization, it's like a loosely tied together group of people who are interested in the arts, and that includes the performing arts, like music and dance," Wiesner said. "The festival is an opportunity for people to get together and participate in the arts in the community."

The festival will host nine bands, a dance company, a set of student guest pieces from Beloit College and a sketch comedy group. Wiesner said, after seeing The Castle, she just knew that's where she had to have the festival.

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