Arts Center Celebrates First Anniversary

Macomb, IL – The West Central Illinois Arts Center held a party over the weekend to celebrate the first anniversary of its building on Macomb's courthouse square.

The WCIAC bought it at auction on August 29, 2008. Board President Dave Dorsett says the group has made good use of the building, which is located at 25 East Side Square.

"I would have to say the major accomplishment has been the amount of programming that we've been able to put in place," says Dorsett. "A close second is removal of the old slip cover facade. From a building point of view, that was it."

The WCIAC also made its building available for the Gazebo Arts Festival last September when torrential rains made it impossible to hold the event in Chandler Park.

During the anniversary party, the WCIAC honored volunteers who've gone above and beyond the call of duty. Dorsett hopes recognition of such volunteers can become an annual event.

Many shows are already scheduled for the WCIAC's second year in its building. Dorsett says the WCIAC also hopes to open a gift shop and create a classroom. Both of those would be located on the first floor.

There is still a great deal of work to be done on the building's second and third floors. Dorsett says the WCIAC will probably need to hire an architectural and engineering firm to help decide how to use the space and estimate how much the renovations will cost.

The WCIAC hopes to reach out to more artists from around the area during the next year. The group wants to make the building a truly regional arts center.

The building had been vacant for several years before the WCIAC bought it. Most recently it had housed a clothing store. The building dates back to the late 1800s. At one time it was home to the Wyne Dry Goods Company. The sign for Wyne can still be seen painted onto the bricks of the facade.