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Albert Lea Art Center announces capital campaign

The Albert Lea Art Center announced its capital campaign for 2019-20. 

“The move to 101 South Broadway has exceeded all expectations regarding the number of visitors and interest by area artists and the community,” the center’s committee stated in a press release. “The downtown location, large display area, classroom, art shop, library and lounge areas are all designed for public enjoyment and arts education. The community has responded with requests for displays, meetings and classes and the site is perfect for participation in city events.”

Initial building improvement costs have been higher than planned, the release stated, and in order to meet the current city building codes, two additional bathrooms, a firewall behind the public area and a basement sprinkler system connected to an alarm system have been installed. Payment for the updates has put on hold original plans for the building. The building needs a new roof and insulation, energy-efficient thermal pane windows, a kitchenette and other upgrades, and the center board of directors has set $200,000 as the goal for the campaign.

For those who question why the Art Center did not move to the Freeborn Bank building, five years ago that was a real possibility, the release stated. Cohen-Esrey, a development firm from Overland Park, Kansas, had plans to create mid-income housing on the top three floors of the building. The first floor would be rented to a non-profit organization. The art center was excited to be a part of the master plan, the release stated, but Cohen-Esrey did not receive the grants it needed to accomplish its goals in Albert Lea.

After visiting or discussing more than 40 different sites in the area, the Art Center purchased the former Tiger City Sports building at 101 S. Broadway in September 2018. It is an ideal location centered in community happenings such as Wind Down Wednesdays, Eddie Cochran Weekend and in 2019 the Governor’s Fishing Opener, which brought in more than 900 visitors in one day, the release stated.

For more information, contact The Albert Lea Art Center at 507-373-5665.