Whitewater unveils art center

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Carla McCann
December 10, 2007
— Whitewater artists took center stage Sunday during the grand opening of the new Cultural Arts Center.

The center’s spotlight at 402 Main St. is the first to shine on all community artists.

“It’s a good dream,” said Bob Jennings, who with his wife, Gerry, attended the opening. “I hope it goes, goes and goes. It already is bringing lots of people here.”

The Whitewater couple were among about 125 artists and supporters of the Whitewater Arts Alliance attending the event in the historic building that once housed the library.

When the former library was dedicated on June 17, 1904, it was described as the most artistic building in the city.

Betty Schoonover remembers the library with a deep fondness.

She used to visit as a child, said Schoonover, who now lives in a nearby Whitewater retirement center.

“It’s exciting that they are using this building for something so special,” Schoonover said. “The arts center has so much potential in this city.”

Members of the Whitewater Arts Alliance donated countless hours this past summer to restore the main floor to its original charm by doing such jobs as cleaning the original oak woodwork and painting walls. But the job isn’t complete. In addition to continued financial support, the alliance still needs volunteers to staff the facility and keep it open for visitors to enjoy displays.

As a theatrical scenic designer, Chris Dunham views the center as a gift.

“It tells me that art in town is valued,” Dunham said. “That’s important to me.”

The Whitewater man attended the event with his wife, Kat, and their 13-month-old daughter, Emerson.

While they were admiring the art show, including such watercolor paintings as “Magnolias in the Sun” by Veronica Davis and a “Working Man” by Marilyn Fuerstenberg, Dick Yasko was taking a break and waiting for his wife, Caryl.

She is the artist who repainted the “Prairie Tillers Mural” on the side of a downtown building.

Dick Yasko has a philosophic view of the art world.

“It’s not TV, video games or telephones,” he said. “It’s something that you really do. The center is something that Janesville could emulate.”


For more details about the Whitewater Cultural Arts Center at 402 W. Main St., call (262) 472-0204.

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