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CRA Approves $3 Million In Arts Funding

LeMoyne Art Gallery
LeMoyne Arts Facebook

Monday’s Community Redevelopment Board meeting divvied up $3 million  to three arts and cultural groups and a new program, not in the running last week, is now set to receive $1.8 million.

The John G. Riley House, LeMoyne Arts Center and TLH Art Inc are all in the running to obtain funding for their projects.

TLH Art not only booted out the Big Bend Community Development Corporation, but became the frontrunner for funding.

This project, which was not in talks last week, could get $1.8 million.

Roxanne Manning, the Executive Director of the Redevelopment Agency, explains why today’s shake up occurred.

“The CRA board was listening to public comment, they were also listening to what tourist development council was saying and they were very clear in their preference for a performance based center,” she says.

The funding comes from Tourist Development dollars that were meant for a performing arts center that never got built.

The council is looking for a performance based center for the city, and at 124 W. Van Buren St. lies a massive 10,000 square foot building that is in the heart Leon County. It’s the current home of the Distinguished Young gentleman. The TLH Arts group is planning to partner with that organization.

TLH Art’s Jake Kiker believes his project has the potential to rejuvenate the old building and turn it into a premier arts facility.

“We realized that the kids, which are primarily ages 14-18 and when we talked to them about the things they enjoyed doing and they sort of gravitating really heavily towards audio, visuals, podcasts, doing their own music videos, youtube, things like that and so it really just evolved from there," Kiker explains, "And then once we realized we have this much square footage we could actually do a full blown performing arts space as well. The idea just continued to evolve and that’s where we’re at.”

The proposals will be moved to County Commission on Tuesday and then to City Commission on Wednesday.  

AnnMarie Welser is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. AnnMarie is a Chicago native and a recent graduate of The Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She formely worked for NowThis News, KCPT, EURACTIV and the National Newspaper Association. She is a Beyoncé and Oprah enthusiast. Follow AnnMarie Welser on Twitter: @annmarieW96