Monmouth wants to spur economic development in the downtown. Public meetings have shown residents would like to see a vigorous arts community develop downtown.
Community Development Director Paul Schuytema said the city will rehabilitate a building downtown into an art studio and gallery. The new project will create foot traffic and new business opportunities. He said the original plan was to offer artists studio and gallery space and apartments. A study showed that was not economically feasible.
Instead, he said the goal is to provide affordable space for artists. The studio will be an open space to encourage collaboration.
Schuytema said the city has chosen a site but will keep it under wraps until the formal announcement at 5 p.m. March 21st at the Buchanan Center for the Arts.
He said, “We've already had architects in there and contractors in there and are putting together the renovation plan to create this space, that again, would be done in concert with the art center. It's not a competing enterprise.”
In fact, the art center polled local artists to see if they had interest in using the space. Schuytema said the results were positive.
The building will offer space for 10-20 artists. Schuytema expects from high school age through adult to use the space.
The city will not retain ownership; it will create a non-profit entity to run the operation. It will rely on grants and revenue from artist rentals and retail space.