Wednesday, March 28, 2018

1992 - The Community Cultural Plan

In 1992, the Decatur Area Arts Council led the community through a cultural planning process spearheaded by Joan (Rolf) Avis, along with Chuck Archer and Wesley Tower.

The Arts Council received a grant to hire professional consultants and, after raising the necessary matching funds, hired the Wolf Organization of Cambridge, Mass., beginning their work in early 1992.

The Wolf Organization, working hand in hand with Arts Council staff and the 19 member steering committee, conducted a number of individual and group interviews, reviewed resource materials, and compiled a community needs assessment, including:

  • How to increase outreach
  • Facilities report
  • The needs of different arts organizations
  • Current and needed arts education
  • Possible Arts Council changes, capabilities or responsibilities
  • Cultural diversity
  • Financial resources

The inclusive nature of the planning process involved people from many different organizations and cultural backgrounds invited to a series of public hearings. The final report was presented in October 1992. Most priority items revolved around the Arts Council making a commitment to become a facilitator and catalyst for the arts in Decatur.

Task forces were formed to analyze and implement the recommendations of the consultants, which included:

  • Move Arts Council offices to downtown Decatur
  • Establish a local arts network with workshops for local arts organizations
  • Improve the coordination and dissemination of information about the arts in Decatur
  • Establish a resource task force to research a united arts fund approach
  • Work with the City to develop a Public Arts Commission
  • Establish a permanent arts education planning group
  • Work with the Heritage Network to identify their role in the cultural plan

A Cultural Planning Group was put into place to oversee the task force work and to validate their final recommendations.  In Spring 1993, the Decatur Area Arts Council board accept the recommendations of the Cultural Planning Group's Action Plan for Year One and gave the Arts Council staff and the Long Range Planning Committee authority to move forward with these recommendations.

The top priority of the Community Cultural Plan, establishing a downtown location for the Arts Council, became a reality in 2004 with the purchase and renovation of the Madden Arts Center at 125 N. Water St..

Community Cultural Plan Steering Committee members included:

  • Joan (Rolf) Avis, Chair, DAAC
  • Louise Kidd and Susan Smith, DAAC staff
  • Chuck Archer, DAAC and IAC representative
  • Glenda Brown, Downtown Senior Center
  • Ken Crossley, DAAC and Kirkland Fine Arts Center
  • Sherry Gates, Gallery 510 and visual artist
  • Andy Green, Civic Center
  • Debra Harris, WAND and performing artist
  • Angela Hughes, City of Decatur
  • Joyce Matteson, Barn Colony Artists
  • Sue Powell, Decatur Recreation Department and artist
  • Molly Shade, Theatre 7, Lincoln Theatre Restoration Group, and performing artist
  • Nancy Shoop, DAAC and visual artist
  • Norman Stewart, DAAC
  • Mary Talbott, Macon County Historical Society
  • Wesley Tower, Millikin University and Symphony Orchestra
  • Carol Trolia, Symphony Orchestra Guild
  • Don Wachter, Decatur Public Schools
  • Jon Weidlich, Richland Community College
  • Denene Wilmeth, Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

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