Denmark Arts Center looks to purchase property

THE KELLER HOUSE, located across the street from the Denmark Arts Center, is the target of a newly-launched capital campaign to purchase the property.

THE KELLER HOUSE, located across the street from the Denmark Arts Center, is the target of a newly-launched capital campaign to purchase the property.

DENMARK — Jamie Hook’s holiday wish list is to gain public support leading to the purchase of a property that could help expand Denmark Arts Center programming.
Letters and e-mails went out last week as Hook, executive director of the Denmark Arts Center, announced a major capital campaign.
Starting this month, the Denmark Arts Center is seeking to raise $150,000 in two installments of $75,000 each. The purpose is to raise funds to support the proposed purchase of the property at 49 West Main Street — the Keller House (pictured above) — and currently for sale across the street from the DAC.
“The Keller House presents an essential opportunity for our future that we cannot let slip away. It is a necessary one, too: Last summer, the DAC brought more than 50 artists to town to present more than 25 public programs to a combined audience of over 3,000. In the process, we helped to pump over $50,000 into the local economy,” Hook said. “And we did it all without an office or a residence of any kind. If we hope to continue to grow our audience, extend our calendar, and increase our impact, we will need a place that can help us bring the world to Denmark, and show Denmark to the world. The Keller House can be that place.”
Upon purchase, this wonderful, historic home will serve as the administrative and residential center for the DAC, housing visiting artists and program staff, and serving in a support capacity for the auditorium, across the street, Hook said.
“49 West Main St. will also offer further venues for presentation: an outdoor stage and a rustic theater are two ideas under consideration,” Hook added. “In addition, with ample space downstairs, this house will in time yield both a public café, serving residents of and visitors to Denmark in a charming atmosphere; and a public garden, offering a unique way to appreciate Denmark’s natural beauty.”
Hook believes 49 West Main Street will attract a host of new funding to the DAC from a variety of foundations and government entities, many explicitly supporting residency programs. The house will also lend itself to significant earned income in the form of wedding rentals, off-season rental housing, and corporate retreat space.
Hook pointed out that $50,000 has already been pledged to the project. The fundraising phases are as follows:
Phase 1, December 2014 to February 2015: In the first phase, DAC seeks funds to secure the property. Funds pledged to this phase of the campaign will join core funding already secured ($50K) and other financing to allow the purchase of the property. The property has been duly examined by the DAC real estate committee, which determined it to be in excellent physical shape at a reasonable offering price.  Upon purchase, the property will remain on the Denmark tax rolls.
Phase 2, June to September 2015: In the second phase, DAC seeks funds to renovate the property. These funds will support a basic electrical upgrade and a retrofit of some current unused space, yielding the minimal improvements necessary to bring the house into compliance with code and render it useful for the purposes described above. These renovations will be undertaken during the winter of 2015-16, yielding a fully usable venue to participate in the Summer 2016 program of activities.
“Whether you can give $5 or $5,000, your gift will do its part in helping the DAC to realize this incredible opportunity for the town of Denmark,” Hook said in the capital campaign letter to area residents. “We hope you will be able to take part in this unique chance to solidify the future of an incredibly special place.”
To make a contribution to the Capital Campaign, please contact: Jamie Hook, executive director, at jamie@denmarkarts.org

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