2013 Year in Preview: Culture
Friday, January 04, 2013 7:00 AM
Social Club moves forward with firehouse renovations
The Des Moines Social Club is hoping to have another fiery year as it begins renovations on the former downtown firehouse at 900 Mulberry St.
The group plans to turn the building into a theater, gallery, coffeehouse, bar and restaurant, as well as offer workspace for nonprofit organizations.
Executive Director Zachary Mannheimer said the Social Club isn’t disclosing the total amount it has raised so far for the renovations, but he did say that the group surpassed its 2012 fundraising goal of $2 million. The nonprofit arts organization is working on raising a total of $3.5 million, which is hopes to reach by the middle of this year.
Donors to its capital campaign include Kum & Go LC, $350,000; Principal Financial Group Inc., $300,000; The Fred and Charlotte Hubbell Foundation, $150,000; the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, $100,000; and The Community Foundation Leadership Circle, $250,000.
“We’re in the last bit of fundraising, which is the hardest part,” Mannheimer said, adding that the group is now going after smaller donations of $50 or $100.
The Social Club hopes to close on its purchase of the firehouse by the end of February and begin construction in April, Mannheimer said. It also plans to host an event inside the firehouse before construction begins in March, but no date has been set because construction plans could change.
The group is moving forward with Orchestrate Hospitality, which manages popular downtown spots Centro and Django, to create a restaurant that will take up most of the first floor, Mannheimer said. It has also spoken with dozen of groups and several retailers about becoming future tenants, but is still looking at proposals.
IPR makes format changes, works to become more self-sustaining
Iowa Public Radio (IPR) will continue to make changes to its classical music format throughout 2013.
In September 2012, the public radio group stopped airing classical music on WOI 90.1 FM – running only national news programming during weekdays and Studio One’s contemporary music at night. IPR made the change after a two-year survey concluded that the station’s listeners, both regular and occasional, preferred news.
Central Iowans are still able to listen to listen to classical music on KICP 105.9 FM, KICL 96.3 FM, KUNI 101.7 FM and KICJ 88.9 FM.
Along with the format change, the radio group announced it would continue to invest in classical music. IPR is finishing up construction of a new station in Boone that will serve the Ames area. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of January.
IPR is in discussions to form a partnership with small stations in the Marshalltown and upper Central Iowa regions to better provide classical music service.
IPR is also working to become financially independent. The goal comes from its 2012-2016 strategic plan to increase private support and move away from the funding it receives from Iowa’s three public universities.
In fiscal year 2011, private funding increased by 11 percent as university funding decreased by 11 percent, compared with fiscal year 2010.
Botanical Garden gets new name, new look
The new year brought a new name and new logo to the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center. In the year ahead, the facility will benefit from $11.6 million in renovations.
The Botanical Center became the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, which is now led by a nonprofit group of the same name that formed out of the Friends of the Botanical Center group.
Des Moines Water Works operated the Botanical Center until its lease ended Dec. 31. A nonprofit group formed out of the Friends of the Botanical Center group took over operations of the Botanical Garden, said Stephanie Jutila, president and CEO ofthe Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.
Here are the 2013 plans for the botanical garden:
• January 2013 - Construction will begin on interior elements, including the creation of an administrative office suite and updating the kitchen. Although the garden will remain open to the public through June 2013, access to the exterior gardens will be limited from March to June.
• March 2013 - Robert D. Ray Drive will close from the northern end of the existing parking lot to University Avenue. A new cafe overlooking the water garden will be built and the sculpting of the exterior landscape will begin. The exterior gardens will close.
• May 2013 - The southernmost greenhouse will be removed to make way for the service lane on the building’s eastern side.
• July to August 2013 - The garden and domed conservatory will be closed to the public.
• September 2013 - The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden will reopen to the public with updated interiors.
• Autumn 2013 - The new café and garden shop (gift shop) open.
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