The DeWitt Operahouse Theatre was built in 1876 and underwent a renovation/restoration in 1979-1982. The DeWitt Theater Company bought the building next door and began the second renovation and expansion that included a larger lobby, handicapped accessibility, main floor restrooms along with gallery space for display of artist’s work. The project had been a labor of love for the DeWitt Theater Company, many of whose members had been involved in the first renovation. After 3 years of planning, fundraising, and finally construction, the Operahouse Theater was ready to reopen! Interest in building a gallery based on the John Bloom legacy, the Grant Wood byway corridor, and nationally known DeWitt artist, Ellen Wagner, became a reality. With the generous contributions and the major sponsor, First Central State Bank, the new First Central Art Gallery resulted.
As former art teachers and members of the DeWitt Area Fine Arts Foundation Gallery Committee, we arrange for area artists to exhibit their work in the gallery. The goal is to enrich the quality of life in our community by encouraging, supporting and promoting the fine arts. Our mission is to provide and coordinate fine art exhibits for the community. The committee acquires lists of artists by attending area art events, visiting specific artist’s exhibits or by recommendations of other artists. We also communicate with Central DeWitt art teachers to schedule displays of student’s work. Each exhibit has a 2 month slot in our bi-yearly schedule. Photos and information about the artist is also published in The Observer to help promote the works.
We have been fortunate to show a variety of mediums (watercolor, acrylic/oil on canvas, pastels, pencil drawings, graphics, collages, photographs) and genres (nature, abstract, wildlife, portraits, cityscapes, landscapes, whimsical, and calligraphy). This year we are including the old American art form of quilting, running between July 3rd and August 1st in the gallery.
We are privileged to use time and talent to serve on the Gallery Committee and encourage everyone to enjoy and support this cultural and educational addition to our great community!
Carol Beck and Elaina Lomsdalen – DeWitt Area Fine Arts Foundation Gallery Committee Members