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Pumping station might become an arts center

April 23, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - The Hancock Arts Council hopes to turn the former pumping station at Widmeyer Memorial Park into a performing arts center for theatrical productions, concerts, workshops and other arts-related programs.

Arts Council co-chair Sinclair Hamilton said in a phone interview this week that the organization would seek donations and apply for grants to help pay for renovations to the 68-foot-by-33-foot building.

He said renovations tentatively are projected to cost about $20,000 to $30,000.

"It's something that is good for a small town culturally ..." Hamilton said. "It's also good for the town economically."

Hamilton said the Arts Council began thinking about the idea after receiving requests from area groups looking for a place to perform.

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"That got us to thinking that we should have a place for these community activities," Hamilton said. "It seemed like the sort of thing that people would like to have and participate in."

The council has been working on the proposal for about six months, he said.

Hamilton said the Hancock Arts Council hopes to receive some assistance with the proposed project from the Washington County Arts Council.

"They were helpful to us in the past. We have a good relationship with them," he said. "We think they'd help us out with this project as well."

Hamilton pitched the idea for the performing arts center to the Hancock Town Council at a meeting this month.

Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy thanked Hamilton for the suggestion and said the Town Council would consider the proposal.

"I've gotten good comments from members of the Town Council and a lot of good comments from citizens of the town who had a lot of interest in the plan," Hamilton said.

Hamilton told the Town Council during the meeting that the mission of the Arts Council is to enrich the cultural life of Hancock and the surrounding area with all types of art.

"We want to involve the community young and old as viewers and as participants," Hamilton said. "We want to exhibit and cultivate the talents of local artists as well as bringing in artists from other areas."

"Culturally, the arts are important because these are the ways we express our creativity, values, beliefs and ideals," Hamilton said. "Culture is a kind of glue that can hold a community together. The arts are a way of preserving and appreciating what is important and meaningful to us as a society. The arts are also a way of keeping in touch with the past and a way of building a future."

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