I drove home past the C.B.&Q. Freight House last evening after the Lucas County Arts Council's "dream meeting" just to admire the new lighting. If you've not done that, you should. And the council would appreciate it, too, if you'd find its Facebook page (follow this link) and "like" it, too.
There are a couple of outdated Arts Council Facebook pages also floating around in cyberspace, but you want this one, with Nash Cox's photo of the Freight House at night at the top.
The Arts Council sponsors an annual October arts festival (at the Freight House), owns and operates the building --- beautifully restored several years ago and listed on the National Register of Historic Places --- as an events venue, coordinates the Vredenburg Performing Arts series and does what else it can to promote the arts in Lucas County.
Most recently, the council has opened the Freight House for concerts by the new big-band-sound community band organized by Chariton High School band instructor Daniel Scheetz, who also serves on the Arts Council board, was seated beside me during Sunday's meeting at the library and thereby managed to avoid being photographed, as did several others.
The meeting, which involved Arts Council board members, artists and other interested guests --- including me --- was intended to provide a forum for discussion of Arts Council aspirations and challenges. Some of these were listed as the meeting progressed on the board shown below, so take a look.
Next October's arts festival will be the 25th anniversary edition --- so there was a good deal of discussion about how to make it extra special. One challenge is the fact that the Freight House, although quite large, is filled for display purposes to the maximum when approximately 14 artists are featured. One option would be to expand onto the Freight House deck or grounds.
A major frustration expressed Sunday involved the fact there's no publicly accessible gallery space in Chariton. The Freight House, rented out for events nearly every weekend and at other times during the week, does not lend itself to this purpose. Rental revenue helps fund council activities and maintain the building, so turning the Freight House into a gallery isn't practical. Many of those present would love to have a gallery on the square, but figuring out how to get one there is the challenge.
Potential improvements to and use of the drive-up bank building moved to a spot just north of the Freight House by Nick Cattell and others a number of years ago also was a topic for discussion. The Arts Council needs an office and there are other potential uses.
If you'd like to join the conversations about the arts in Lucas County, the best route probably would be to join the Arts Council. Susan Baer is president and Nash Cox, vice-president. Kris and Lori, at the Chariton Free Public Library, also would be happy to answer questions and accept memberships. And "like" the Facebook page, too.