Arts council marking 20th with several events

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic
Members of the original steering committee for the Galva Arts Council (from left) Marge Dickinson, Harold Riner, Susan Tiemstra and David Thomson are seen at a 10-year anniversary of the GAC, held in 1999. Absent for the photo was Max Harris, also a steering committee member. The GAC is marking 20 years of service in 2009, with many events planned throughout the year.

2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the Galva Arts Council. An anniversary committee with Nancy Anderson as chairman has begun planning special activities for the next several months. The theme is “Bringing the Arts to the Hearts of Galva.”

The GAC was founded in the fall of 1989 to fulfill a need for coordinating art and other activities for the community.

A steering committee composed of Marge Dickinson, Max Harris, Harold Riner, Susan Tiemstra and David Thomson met in the summer of 1989, prepared a community survey, developed by-laws, and gathered a board of directors. The first board consisted of Ben Anderson, Jan Birr, Marge Dickinson, Ann Gregory, Max Harris, Mary Keller, Cholly Kennaugh, William Owen, Harold Riner, John Sloan, Susan Tiemstra and David Thomson.

The group applied for and received non-profit status in November 1989, and the arts council was off and running. In the 20 years since then, the GAC has sponsored art shows, photo contests, coffeehouses, classes, plays, floats in the Fourth of July parade, trips to Chicago to visit The Art Institute and theater, home and garden tours, dance lessons, and scholarships.

Initially, the GAC didn’t have a permanent home. The first art show was held in the Best Building at the corner of Market and Exchange streets. The next one was at the American Legion building.

In 1992, the GAC obtained its first home: 335 Market Street - known to many as the Murnen store.

Then in 1994, the GAC moved to the historical white frame building next to the railroad tracks on Chester Street. That was the former home of the Briegel manufacturing company, an antique shop and Garst Seed. Originally, this building was the Swedish school and meeting house of Messiah Lutheran Church. It was moved from Southwest Fourth to its present location on Chester Street about 100 years ago.

In 1998 the arts council got an opportunity to buy an historical building owned by Sally Smith, the former Ben Franklin store. On a very warm day in June 1998, the GAC move to that building, where it resides today.

The current building, located at 128 N. Exchange St., was constructed in 1887 by O.L. Peterson, who owned a furniture store. Over the years it has been occupied by Gray Eagle Coal Company, Patrick Variety, DeNova Grocery, Hammer’s Variety, Community Electric, Buff’s 5 cents to $1 and Ben Franklin. Much restoration has taken place there, and has been done with many hours of volunteer labor.

Over the next few months, picture collages and displays can be seen in the GAC building’s windows. Also look for additional articles appearing in the Galva News.