Tag Archives: DeWitt Operahouse

Community Gallery is a Labor of Love

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

Finding Purpose in Pink

While breast cancer is a very serious issue, let me share my story of some amazing women and men that I have met in my position at the DeWitt Community Hospital Foundation, the local fundraising organization that supports Genesis Medical Center – DeWitt. Laughter is the best medicine according to them!  I have been with the foundation for 10 months, but after meeting Sherry Stauffer, the woman who started the entire month of local breast cancer awareness, her passion soon inspired me too!  I am graciously aware of my surroundings when I sit around a table of 13 amazingly kind, courageous and very humorous individuals on our Pink for the Cure Committee.  Six members of this committee are breast cancer survivors.  The rest of us have either had or know someone affected by this crazy disease.  Yet, at every meeting there is one common goal . . .  get the word out to everyone about getting annual mammograms to help with early detection. There is not a meeting where we don’t laugh or think of something joyful.  If you’re lucky enough to meet one of these inspiring women be prepared to laugh; they may tell you a prosthesis story or a good one about a wig!

Let me give you a glimpse of what the month holds.  A Community Challenge of lighting up the whole town of DeWitt in Pink; Movie and Mammo night . . . and no, you don’t get a mammogram, it’s just a fun night at DeWitt Operahouse Theatre watching a chick flick and drinking some TYCOGA wine; Community Pink Out, where you are encouraged to wear pink on October 7 (Men this includes you too!); The Pink Stronger Than You Think Event at Springbrook Country Club featuring former television personality Carolyn Wettstone, speaking about how she kicked the cancer fairy’s butt (now tell me, who wouldn’t want to learn about that?), and lastly our very own Joan Reynolds, teaching us how to paint at TYCOGA.

Feel the passion!  Get your pink on for the month of October as we celebrate our fifth anniversary of these great events (Five years is a big number for survivors of breast cancer as a milestone in their journey).

Robin Krogman – Director, DeWitt Community Hospital Foundation

Facts about Breast Cancer in the United States

  • One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
  • Each year it is estimated that over 246,660 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,000 will die of the disease.
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, each year an estimated 2,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 440 of them will die.
  • On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and one woman dies of breast cancer every 13 minutes.
  • Over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today. This remarkable number is directly related to early detection and treatment,

Lincoln Park in Bloom

I have always liked DeWitt’s Lincoln Park.  It is a favorite playground of our grandchildren.  We often take a picnic lunch to the park when they visit.  I enjoy the summer community band concerts, Tunes in Town and the Farmers’ Market.  Our family watches parades and races from the shade of the trees in Lincoln Park.

The DeWitt Area Fine Arts Foundation invites you to spend some time in Lincoln Park on Saturday, September 17, at the John Bloom Arts Festival.  This is the 14th annual arts festival.  The foundation started the event to give local artists an opportunity to display and sell their creations.  It is just one of the many projects that the foundation has to promote fine arts activities in DeWitt.

Twenty local vendors will have their creations for sale at the arts festival between 10am- 3pm on the 17th.  All items are hand crafted.  Those creations include art work, yard art, woven baskets, doll clothes, loomed rugs, jewelry and pottery.  The Nite Lions provide lunch and the Central Community Historical Society serves pie.  Andrew Vickers is the musical entertainment throughout the day.  The Central DeWitt art teachers have make-and-take crafts for children.   It is not only an opportunity to see the creativity of others, but to enjoy time in the park and meet your neighbors!

The name of the John Bloom Arts Festival honors artist and native son, John Bloom.  John was a contemporary of Grant Wood, one of my favorite artists.  I think the story of John’s mural located in DeWitt’s City Hall is fascinating.  DeWitt is fortunate to have John Bloom prints on permanent display in the First Central Gallery located in the Operahouse Theatre.  There is also a large collection of John’s work at the Central Historical Society.  John Bloom may have lived in DeWitt many years ago, but the spirit of the town he depicted in his paintings still lives!

Marsha Witte – DeWitt Area Fine Arts Foundation board member

Seize the Day and Volunteer

Volunteerism is the backbone of  DeWitt’s successful community. Looking around the community, I see the Operahouse, beautiful churches, the hospital, the school, and the warm
welcoming downtown. Most of this was accomplished through the time and efforts of DeWitt’s volunteer community.

I feel lucky to be a part of this community. For me, it started in the late 70’s when Al Tubbs asked me to assist in the reconstruction of the Operahouse (DART).  I felt such pride as the doors opened and the first movie was shown.  It was a wonderful, fulfilling experience.  I guess that was what wet my whistle for volunteering. Since that time I have watched many organization grow, the Hospital Foundation in 1999, the Central Community Educational Foundation in 1993, the LincolnWay Foundation in 2005 (former DeWitt Area Foundation in 1987), the STAR Project for Central Schools in 2006, and now working with Friends of Frances for the Frances Banta Waggoner Library expansion. What a pleasure it is to say I have had a part in these projects.  I pattysmile every time I walk through the doors at one of these great facilities; I even smile when I drive past them!

Pride in the community that I have grown -up in and have lived in most of my life has encouraged me in my volunteering.  I wish everyone would have the opportunity to grow -up in a healthy, safe, active community such as ours; enjoying the amenities so many volunteers have afforded this community. It is so easy for me to say ”DeWitt Delivers”!

Seize the Day!                                                                                                                                                     Patty Henricksen – DeWitt Volunteer and Resident

 

Photo Credit: DeWitt Observer

Your Assignment: Shop Local!! Due Date: December 25th

 

Let’s talk shopping.  Ladies smile and get that hint of excitement when they hear that word.  Guys: probably not so much, but there could be a way to change that…

I personally hate shopping, I really do.  I know, I’m a woman and I’m supposed to be giddy at the idea.  Dropping me at the mall with three hours to kill is like torture.  You would most likely find me in a corner at Barnes and Noble with a stack of books waiting for everyone else in my group to be done with their shopping excursions. But, I dare to say there are certain shopping scenarios I can enjoy.  You know that day when you weren’t planning on buying anything but you find the absolute most perfect gift for someone?  That unique gift that you bought the day you had half hour to kill so you walked through that little store in town.

You knew right where I was going with this, didn’t you?  But think about it, shopping local is almost always one of the most rewarding and fun kind of shopping there is.  Right here in DeWitt, we are so very lucky to have numerous unique stores and shops.  I know women from all over who plan day trips to come to DeWitt.  They have some lunch at Whisk Away Cafe & Bakery, and then walk 6th Avenue all afternoon.  I often hear from out of town family and friends just how friendly people are here; and I know that firsthand.  My mom, who often comes from Dubuque to buy her home décor here, is always greeted with a smile and helpful advice when she walks into Meant To Be, her favorite store.  My daughter is always treated as a “mini shopper” there as well and loves being the little jellybean sampler!  Keeping these unique businesses running and thriving adds to the charming character of our community.  And I’m not just talking the antique and craft stores; I’m talking all of our businesses.  We’re lucky to have Barnes Foodland in DeWitt.  They are continually upgrading and adding more selection.  For someone like me with Celiac Disease I especially appreciate that I can now buy some gluten free foods right here in DeWitt and do not have to drive to outside areas.

So let’s do some Christmas shopping this month or next!  If we all bought just one or two Christmas gifts in DeWitt, think of the money that would be staying right here in our community instead of going to a big chain store.  Get your child’s birthday cake from Whisk Away Cafe & Bakery, grab those groceries at Barnes Foodland, expand your wardrobe at The Family Tree, enjoy a coffee at Blondie’s Coffee Out Back drive-thru instead of Starbucks, or take the family to a weekend matinee at the DeWitt Operahouse.  And guys here’s the easy part – drive those few minutes it takes to get downtown and buy your lady something nice from Necker’s Jewelers, or that antique table at Emma Rae’s Antiques & Uniques that she said would look striking in the dining room.

Yes, I have learned that shopping does not have to be torture; it can actually be very enjoyable.  It’s a proven scientific fact (in my mind anyway) that local businesses hire the best people.  The business owners and their staff are our friends and neighbors and their customer service makes shopping locally so very worth it!

Lisa LeConte, DeWitt Resident and Mother