Chewelah Center for the Arts slated to receive state grant

Washington State’s Building for the Arts program has selected Chewelah Center for the Arts as one of the capital projects it intends to help fund through a large reimbursement grant.

Debby McConnell, a relatively new Performing and Cultural Arts (PACA) Board member lead the efforts and worked on the paperwork for the grant.

Refurbishing work on the new Chewelah Center for the Arts has been an ongoing project since April 2016 after PACA received possession of the building at 403 N. 3rd Street.
The historic building, originally an armory, was purchased from the City of Chewelah in March 2015.

Building for the Arts is a reimbursement grant that disburses money to the recipient organization “after the fact.”

This grant will cover 20 percent of all applicable expenditures by PACA accrued from July 2015 to June 2017.

These expenditures include in-kind donations of equipment, materials and professional labor, as well as $10 an hour for non-professional volunteer labor. Volunteer time given by PACA board members and area residents should amount to more than 1,000 hours for purposes of the grant, according to PACA Board President Sharon Ludwig.

“Because of the scope of community contribution to the project, PACA is expected to receive approximately $97,000,” explained McConnell.

Chewelah Center for the Arts is number four of the eight capital projects Building for the Arts proposed to the state legislature for 2017-2018 budget, keeping company with projects like the Seattle Art Museum and Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Since its inception in 1991, Washington’s Building for the Arts program has raised nearly $90 million in state capital construction funds for more than 200 arts projects in 27 counties. Administration of the grants by the Department of Commerce and a citizen’s advisory board means only projects that have demonstrated sound planning, fiscal solvency, and an ability to raise substantial funds locally are commended for funding.

“PACA and the community of Chewelah can be proud that they more than met the criteria and qualified for the grant,” McConnell said.

On their official website, Building for the Arts says, “In addition to the quality of life contributions these projects will help arts organizations bring to their communities, they also will have an impact on the state’s economy through tax revenue and job creation.

“Furthermore, when construction is complete, arts organizations and their patrons spur business and jobs in [their local communities].”

This philosophy is evident when the possible uses for Chewelah Center for the Arts are considered.

Those planning to make use of the building when it opens in fall 2017 include the Chewelah School District, Park Avenue Players, Stage Time Theatre School and the Northern Ballet School. Other possible events are numerous and include car shows, art gallery showings, film festivals and music concerts.

Disbursement of the Building for the Arts grants is dependent on how much money is allocated to the program by the state legislature in its budgetary sessions.

“However, since the grant money is given in the order of the approved list, and we are number four, we have reason to hope we will receive it,” said McConnell.

Those who would like to donate in-kind materials or services, or help out on the project, should call Tom Bristol at 509-935-4100. Anyone who wishes to donate monetarily will have their name appear on a permanent plaque. Monetary donations can be made out to PACA at PACA, P.O. Box 1113, Chewelah WA 99109.