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posted: 7/17/2017 1:34 PM

Cultural arts center considered for downtown Geneva

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  • The Geneva Cultural Arts Commission thinks downtown Geneva would be the ideal location for a small cultural arts center. The proposed center would not be a theater, but rather a place "where children, young people, adults and seniors can meet to engage with people of similar interests in photography, painting, ceramics, creative writing, filmmaking, drama, music, sculpture/3-D art, and crafts."

      The Geneva Cultural Arts Commission thinks downtown Geneva would be the ideal location for a small cultural arts center. The proposed center would not be a theater, but rather a place "where children, young people, adults and seniors can meet to engage with people of similar interests in photography, painting, ceramics, creative writing, filmmaking, drama, music, sculpture/3-D art, and crafts."
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

The idea of a cultural arts center has been bounced around in Geneva for some time, and creating such a place is essentially the goal of the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission.

However, such talk can lead to some misconceptions. So let's get this part clear right away: The commission is not talking about building a theater for concerts and plays. There are enough of those in the Fox Valley.

In its advisory role to the city council, the commission does, however, say it wants to see a place "where children, young people, adults and seniors can meet to engage with people of similar interests in photography, painting, ceramics, creative writing, filmmaking, drama, music, sculpture/3-D art, and crafts."

The idea also embraces the concept that a cultural arts center would be able to host art shows and exhibits, small theatrical or musical performances, and become a center for educational programs during summer and school vacations.

Some of that could change, of course, but for most of us in the general public, the key question is where might a place like this eventually turn up?

The downtown Geneva business district would be the preferred location, along State or Third streets, said commission Chairman Tim Vetang, noting that a target size would be about 1,500 square feet.

"It would appeal to residents if it were in that downtown area, as well as visitors who might be looking for something to do," Vetang said.

Obviously, the commission would love to see a property owner donate a site, but otherwise it continues its due diligence in scoping out potential real estate.

"The problem in Geneva is that we are a little venue-challenged," Vetang added. "We don't have an indoor facility that is readily available. You can use the high school auditorium at times, but only when the high school is not using it, which is appropriate."

The park district doesn't have any space in the downtown area to offer, and the new library in the future would not operate under similar hours and will likely need its space for its own meetings and programs, Vetang said.

"We really don't have a (vacant) place for 30 or more people to regularly meet or set up an activity," Vetang said.

For the time being, that means the commission will continue its hunt for the perfect location.

Store saddle's up:

It's not so much that it is strange to see Stanbridge Master Saddlers at the corner retail spot at 116 W. Main St. in downtown St. Charles. It's the "established in 2016" marker above the entrance that sits on a building that represents quite a change for longtime residents and city historians.

Colson's Department Store held that key downtown spot for more than 100 years -- until July of 1992 -- before closing. At that time, Dean Courser began negotiating to acquire the site to bring in his Vertical Drop ski and patio shop in 1994. He had previously run Vertical Drop out of 219 W. Main St.

Colson's was in operation at that site since 1880 under the Colson name, even though some of its most famous episodes were not the type that owner John Colson and his sons could look upon fondly.

That store endured a fire in 1933, a flood in 1954 and the huge October 1975 fire that drew fire departments from all over the region.

But that's somewhat ancient history at this point.

For now, we'll hope that Stanbridge owners Susan Jansson, Sarah Schmidgall and Kate Ballard have great success with their equestrian shop.

There's quite a science behind making sure a saddle and bridlework fit properly for a rider and these ladies are trying to do that and more at reasonable prices for riders throughout the Midwest.

A sweet couple:

So, maybe chocolate does help you fall in love.

At least it worked for Drew Alquist and Kathleen Massoth, as the couple recently got married.

Graham's Chocolates in downtown Geneva must have provided some magic, because the newlyweds have worked together at that shop since they were in high school -- and continue to do so.

Graham's posted on Facebook that the two met there, and Drew proposed at the shop.

Helping Mark Herwaldt:

It was shocking enough for Mark Herwaldt of Sugar Grove and his family to recently learn he is suffering from ALS. Now they are enduring another harsh reality -- the symptoms of this devastating disease are coming on quickly and aggressively.

His employer, Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Carol Stream, is hosting a fundraiser from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 23, to help his family cope with this unfortunate turn of events.

The church wants the cookout, spaghetti dinner and bags tournament to help the family make their home wheelchair-accessible and also cover some medical expenses.

A website for donations has also been set up at posthope.org/support-the-herwaldts/donations. Those interested in the bags tournament should contact Taylor Williams at sabresvball2011@gmail.com to sign up.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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