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Cultural arts center gives artists a place where they can shine

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Carla McCann
October 17, 2007
— The Whitewater Arts Alliance harbors no grandiose thoughts that its new cultural arts center will upstage performing art programs at the much larger Irvin Young Auditorium on the UW-Whitewater campus.

“We’re not looking to be Young Auditorium,” said Jim McCulloch, who with his wife, Karen, own and operate Royal Oak Productions. “We want to be able to offer a venue for all community artists.”


On Friday and Saturday, McCulloch will direct the debut production of “Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe” at the new center.


As a community member of the alliance, McCulloch sees the center as a local forum for artists to shine, he said.


Located in the White Memorial Building on its corner slice of West Main Street, the arts center embraces the historic beauty of the former library.


Members of the alliance donated countless hours this summer restoring the main floor to its original charm by cleaning the original oak woodwork and painting walls.


When the former library was dedicated June 17, 1904, it was described as the most artistic building in the city. Now, it will serve as an ambassador for local and area artists.


The center’s mission is to promote local and area talent, said Dawn Hunter, a member of the alliance and facility manager.


The community has welcomed the center, Hunter said. And, from all indications, the variety of venues scheduled during the next few months are being well received, she said.


“We thought it would take awhile to get up and running, but it’s fertile ground,” Hunter said. “People were waiting.”


The goal is to extend the center’s reach for community artists, Hunter said.


“We expect an opportunity to draw a wider part of the population and broaden interest across the community,” Hunter said.


The center even has the potential of offering a smaller venue for UW-Whitewater students to perform recitals or present art shows, Hunter said.


“We would like them to see us as filing a need for students and the university,” she said. “We’re trying to fill a niche and need in the community.”


If you go

What: A performing arts production of “Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe,” presented by Royal Oak Productions of Whitewater.


When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.


Where: Whitewater Cultural Arts Center, 402 W. Main St.


Tickets: $10 for general admission, $9 for students and Whitewater Arts Alliance members. Reservations are suggested because seating is limited, and can be obtained by calling (262) 473-4001.



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