New home for Arts Council?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Those who frequent downtown have already heard the news, I'm sure. Just take a walk by the former home of River Nick's and you'll see the sign, literally.

There it is on the window, future home of the arts council.

No doubt this building -- right on the corner of a busy downtown intersection, right next to more-than-adequate parking for events hosted by the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, more spacious than the council's current location -- would be a prime spot for any arts organization or business.

The huge windows, the large floor space and the location are amazing.

Where the arts council can only display a relative few of its pieces to passers-by at its current 32 N. Main St. location, the former Nick's space at 1 N. Main St. is so transparent those passers-by would be able to see every work.

That's exactly what the Arts Council wants. For a not-for-profit arts organization like the Arts Council, visibility is key.

So word has gotten around, but don't count on seeing the former Nick's walls covered in paintings with 100 percent certainty. In a conservative and rather prudent move, the arts council has appointed a committee to study every aspect of the proposal from the building's owners, the Tomasinos.

Arts council executive director Delilah Tayloe tells me the organization would love to rent 1 N. Main St., but they've seen similar deals with other not-for-profits fall through, and they don't want to jump the gun in calling the move finalized.

I wasn't able to talk to the Tomasinos about the proposal, but Guy Tomasino did send an e-mail to the Southeast Missourian confirming Nick's is closed and 1 N. Main St. will be the future home of the arts council.

The arts council has moved a lot in its 40-plus years of operation. It has rented the current location since 2002.

But if the deal with the Tomasinos is finalized, I could see the arts council staying at 1 N. Main St. for decades. You just can't get a better location.

Good luck, arts council.

If everything goes through, getting this location will give you the kind of visibility that can only help your mission of bringing the arts to everyone.

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