The summer dreams of being entertained at the 53rd Summer Arts Festival could’ve been washed away this spring and not by rain.
But fellow arts organizations weren’t about to leave the Springfield Arts Council hanging out to dry.
A burst pipe in April caused a water disaster at the Heritage Center of Clark County, affecting the Arts Council’s offices, which are located in the building. With about six weeks to go until the six-week festival begins, it left executive director Tim Rowe and his staff without space to put finishing touches on the festival.
The Springfield Museum of Art, National Trail Parks and Recreation and Clark State Performing Arts Center were among those reaching out to offer temporary office space. The Arts Council moved into the Museum of Art earlier this week while repair and restoration work is done at the Heritage Center.
“This allows our staff to be in a central location to continue our advance work on the festival,” Rowe said. “We appreciate all the support from our colleagues at this time.
“It was serendipitous to us the museum opened its doors to us. This space was most conducive to us and we work with the museum throughout the year.”
The organizations partner on the annual KidsFest event during the festival. Part of the location’s convenience is having the festival stage in Veteran’s Park just out the back door.
Ongoing festival preparation includes finalizing contracts, travel arrangements for the artists and artist advancement such as tour riders and lodging. Rowe said many artists will stay in town for a couple of days, helping our economy as some drive here and others fly.
There is also ongoing hiring for grounds crew, maintenance and technical crews, finalizing sponsorships and being a central location to have items dropped off or picked up. Rowe put the final touches on this year’s festival program the first day in his new office.
Museum of Art executive director Ann Fortescue said her staff’s hearts went out to their colleagues.
“With the Arts Festival just a few weeks away, we could only imagine their stress and how disruptive an unexpected event like this would be,” she said. “The arts and cultural organizations in Springfield are like a family and when a family member is in distress, you reach out to them to help. Now with them here it’s kind of like having relatives visit for the summer. “
The Arts Council’s suite at the Heritage Center, which it has occupied for about a decade, has five offices, storage area, work room, conference room and its costume shop that it uses for various productions and rents out to the community, that suffered extensive water damage.
The thousands of costumes were sent out for dry cleaning, and computers, hardware, files and paperwork were also damaged. Rowe said it all hasn’t been assessed yet, adding to his staff’s workload in addition to its festival work and preparing for its next arts series season.
They hope to obtain new data recovery and backup, and potentially have interns help with record transfers. Rowe doesn’t know when the offices will be ready to be reoccupied, but it likely won’t be until after the festival.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better situation than Ann and her board making this space available to us. We and our board are mobilized for the festival,” Rowe said.
Go to www.springfieldartscouncil.org for more information about the 53rd Summer Arts Festival.
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