Beating the Drum (another go at the VAAC)

I am posting a .pdf file of the Historic 1906 Washington Street Arts Center Needs Assessment, completed in December 2006 by Ciavarella Design of Mitchell, as a way of showing how the conclusions and recommendations of this report–paid for by a $5000 contribution by the City of Vermillion (Thanks, taxpayers!)–are not being followed by the current Vermillion Area Arts Council Board leadership.

The current VAAC leadership has been citing this study as proof of the organization’s need to offload the current Arts Center and adjoining property, but the actual report’s recommendations are just the opposite. Read all about it in the attached file, and notice also the very high construction cost estimates (the Board really likes to cite these numbers–in particular “One MILLION DOLLARS to Fix the Building!”).

Does it really cost $3500 to cut back and remove shrubbery around the building? Hmm, I remember doing some of this with a crew of volunteers a couple seasons ago…am I owed a paycheck? And I’ll bet the community gardeners would be more interested in helping to landscape around the building if the Board wasn’t threatening to sell the garden lot to developers. Do we really need a bigger brand-new sign at $7500? I seem to remember a former Board member repainting and re-vamping the sign at no charge just a couple years ago. Should he have charged too? Oh, that’s right–we’re members and volunteers, and we can be pretty handy when we’re asked nicely….

Maybe instead of asking the City for $5000 for a report, the recommendations of which won’t be followed, next time we could ask for $5000 to start a building fund for the very few projects we can’t do ourselves…like that 3-stop elevator. Or is there another, more economical way to provide access for persons with disabilities?

Let’s think about soliciting some of the creativity and handiwork of our artists/membership to provide practical solutions to the problems we know need solving, rather than diving into a whole new set of unknowns: Washington Street Arts Center Needs Assessment


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