Arts Council's dreams dance to life after 30 years

May 21, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. - More than 50 people came out Sunday to celebrate the group that has promoted the arts in Morgan County for three decades.

The Morgan Arts Council (MAC) celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Ice House on Sunday.

The crown jewel of the Morgan Arts Council is the Ice House and its community theater productions, gallery where local artists display their work, curated gallery shows and after-school programs, MAC board member Jeanne Mozier said.

Mozier said the council had its first meeting May 24, 1977, and several members are still participating with the council and with the arts. MAC began with 40 members and has grown to 400, Mozier said.

"MAC was 20 years old before we got our own space," Mozier said, when the Ice House building was donated to MAC in 1996 by U.S. Silica Co. in Berkeley Springs.


New spaces in the Ice House just opened and tours were conducted by Ann Harkins, MAC president.

"An awful lot of what we've been dreaming about has come together in the last few months," Harkins said.

Three new classrooms are open for multipurpose use, including conducting art classes for after-school and summer programs for youth and adults, and art business workshops for artists, said Jane Ping, one of the art teachers.

MAC Executive Director Mary Hott said the new classes are filling up. The business classes are taught by successful artists and business professionals, she said.

The dance and movement studio has a new wood floor, mirrors and lockers. Bob Marggraf, MAC vice president who chairs the building committee, said drapes will be hung along the walls and carpeting will be wrapped on the posts to soundproof the room.

Pat Marggraf conducts belly-dancing classes in the new space.

"It's good aerobics and good for arthritis, good for your posture and it moves every muscle," she said.

Other dance classes will begin in June.

"The demand is here for the space," said Bob Marggraf, "but we need matching (grant) funds to finish the space."

The third and fourth floors are still in the planning stages, and funding from the classes will go toward the renovations, he said.

Mozier said the Ice House renovations are "only 10 percent finished of where we want to be."

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