Just over two weeks ago, the Art Center of Waco found itself displaced. The good news is we are safe; the bad news is we are homeless. A structural engineer contracted by McLennan Community College delivered the shocking news that our beloved home of more than 40 years was structurally unsound. Art Center staff was asked to close the building to the public immediately and to vacate as soon as possible.
This unforeseen circumstance has moved our relocation timetable up by about a year. Our lease with MCC expires at the end of 2018. We knew this day was coming; MCC is expanding and has plans for the building. In fact, we have outgrown the historic William Cameron summer home. Our strategic planning committee has been working hard at locating a new building or building site for several months. Suddenly, this small group has had to accelerate to hyper-drive from a move-out in 14 months to a move- out right now.
Our dedicated Art Center team and board of trustees have been working countless hours securing new exhibit venues, classroom and office space. Thankfully, the courtyard adjacent to the Cameron building is structurally sound and we can honor upcoming special events scheduled for that space.
We are down but we are not out. We see the silver lining. MCC is helping us locate storage space for our contents. Meg Gilbert, our director, secured exhibit and office space — thanks to the generosity of Cultivate 7twelve downtown — for the Art Center team and children’s classes for the next several weeks. Staff continue to search for exhibit and ceramics classroom space.
We need the support of the entire community. We are seeking gallery and office space right now for about a year, preferably in the downtown area. This will give us a little breathing room till we can find a suitable long-term location.
We’ve got a brilliant future planned for the visual arts in Waco. Please help us now. We can’t afford to lose our momentum for the benefit of everyone who has yet to experience the bliss of the creative process. As has been said time and again, the arts pay off for the whole community.