Archived Story

Austin Area Commission asks county for $15K to fund student art classes

Published 10:29am Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Austin Area Commission for the Arts is looking for help from the county board.

Several AACA members requested $15,000 from the county for 2015 to offer free art classes to a planned 720 students. The AACA would put on about 30 classes a year.

AACA Executive Director Jennie Knoebel told the board the Austin ArtWorks Festival has brought people to Austin — 6,500 attendees and more than 155 artists for last year’s festival — and she said those people put money back into the community.

“The impact of the Austin ArtWorks Festival has been seen far and wide,” Knoebel said.

The AACA is reaching outside Austin to Mower County. Knoebel said they participated in a grant program to teach art classes to senior citizens at the public libraries across the county.

Knoebel and the AACA will also go to the city to request funds, but likely for a different purpose.

The AACA is currently working to remodel the old bank building at 300 N. Main St. into the Austin ArtWorks Center. The basement will be for clay work, the main floor will be for retail and arts displays, and the top floor will feature a lounge and classroom space.

Gretchen Ramlo told the board that the ArtWorks Center will be a great thing for the community.

“It’s just such a wonderful thing for our county to have,” she said.

It’s not guaranteed the county will give the money, as the board has been hesitant to grant funding requests to outside agencies like Vision 2020 in recent years.

“When you’re asking us you’re asking the taxpayers, not us, to fund it,” Commissioner Jerry Reinartz told AACA leaders.

AACA members replied that taxpayers are telling them they want the ArtWorks Center.

The county referred the request to the finance committee.

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