The Carson Valley Arts Council says a new art center in downtown Minden will act as a cultural anchor for the Valley.
"Successful downtown areas have art centers, which help draw tourism and are a component of a good economy," said the council's president, Brian Fitzgerald.
Members of the art council gathered in the parking lot of the Copeland Lumber building in downtown Minden on Jan. 18 to celebrate the purchase of the building for a new performing arts center, and to personally thank Ray Sidney, whose $400,000 donation made financing of the building possible.
Sidney is owner of Big George Ventures, a development company building a subdivision in north county. He has made donations to Douglas High School and Jacks Valley Elementary School.
"We don't have the $1.85 million for the entire building, but Mr. Sidney's donation made a down payment possible," said Fitzgerald. "I would like to thank Mike Gilbert, the owner of the building, who has been very patient and a great partner towards our future."
Fitzgerald and others stood in the freezing weather mulling over renovation plans. The 20,000 square-foot Copeland Lumber building, located at the intersection of County Road and Highway 395, has been vacant for years, but the council hopes to change that. They want to use the front offices of the building for their headquarters, with galleries and instruction rooms, and turn the warehouse section of the building into a 400-seat theater.
"Art is something fundamental to the human condition," said Sidney. "Until you have a project like this up and running, people don't know what they're missing."
Fitzgerald said the council is finalizing transfer of the property.
"We've gotten over the first hurdle, and I hope the community will continue to support us and keep the project going," he said.
Carson Valley Art Council is currently looking for volunteers and additional members. They'll be hosting an orientation at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 31 at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office at 1329 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville. For more information visit www.cvartscouncil.com or call 782-8207.