Hearts to Arts: Home is where the art is … in new Mill City location

June, 2016 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community
Santiam Hearts to Arts

Santiam Hearts to Arts

By Mary Owen

With city council approval, Santiam Hearts to Arts plans to sublease the former Green Mountain Real Estate building on Highway 22 in Mill City.

“SH2A is working with the city to finalize a sublease,” Tom Peters, the organization’s president, said. “As soon as the lease is signed, SH2A will take possession, hopefully by June 1.”

SH2A is a local nonprofit whose goal is “to preserve, present and promote the fine and performing arts in the Santiam Canyon.” Peters said the organization is working with the city to procure grant funding and hold community fundraisers to eventually purchase the building.

“The Santiam Canyon would greatly benefit having a Canyon Arts Center that will be a hub for many arts- and music-related programs and activities,” he said. “The organization desires a home to consolidate our programs and activities.”

Since support from the timber industry has diminished in the Santiam Canyon, local schools have had difficulty in funding art and music for students, looking instead to outside assistance, SH2A reported.

“The Santiam Canyon is a community with a wide variety of talents and if tapped, Santiam Hearts to Arts can offer the community some cultural choices that are difficult to find in the local schools,” Peters said.

The benefits of moving to a larger building are many, he said.

“The Santiam Canyon Community Chorus currently rehearses in a small house donated by a generous community member,” he gave as an example. “When the chorus has all of its members present, it’s a pretty tight space. As we grow, the chorus needs larger rehearsal space. The former Green Mountain Real Estate building will fill that need.”

SH2A is also planning for a variety of art- and music-related classes for smaller groups, he said.

“Now, a centrally located place to hold these classes will be available,” he added.

SH2A owns “Meet the Master,” a program created by professional art teachers that provides in-depth learning of the masters of art, a class the organization wants to offer to the community. And a new home also gives SH2A an opportunity to develop an art and music lending program, Peters said.

“This program would provide the community with a place to borrow music, art books, possibly instruments,” he said. “A computer and printer will also be made available to those who might want to research art-related subjects.”

SH2A board member and musician Jo Ann Hebing is excited the have space to hold classes for “both adults and school-age children.”

The real estate building was originally leased by the city for the public library that was displaced because of fire last year, but the library felt the location was not acceptable. That’s when Hearts for Arts stepped in, said Ken Cartwright, board member and manager of KYAC Community Radio, an outreach of SH2A that will also move to the new building.

“We have wanted to grow our organization by offering art and music classes to the canyon community, but we couldn’t identify one location that would allow us to do most of what we wanted to accomplish,” he said. “This building will allow us to do just that. We’re very excited about the future!

“When Mike and Renate Medley started Hearts to Arts in 2008, they had envisioned that the organization would grow and would need project champions to keep the arts alive,” he added. “This is our opportunity.”

Although some funding has been budgeted for the move, Peters said SH2A is seeking donations to help with minor renovations, furnishings and other needs.

“Our future plans are to create a positive and fantastic space for the canyon community to enjoy and learn art and music,” he said.

“Santiam Hearts to Arts is incredibly blessed to have the confidence of the Mill City Council and the community to provide art programs to the canyon. We have a lot of work to do and can use some help. SH2A urges community members throughout the canyon to join us to keep art and culture alive in our beautiful communities.”

For information, contact Peters at tomwaypeters@gmail.com.

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