Ramsdell offered challenge grant from local contributors

MANISTEE — For many Manistee residents and visitors, the Ramsdell Center for the Arts (RRCA) has been a historical gem in the community since 1903.

In support of its various local events and programs, the RRCA was recently offered a $25,000 challenge grant. If awarded, it will be used as part of the RRCA’s year-end contribution requests. The contributors wish to remain anonymous.

However, there’s a catch, the RRCA must raise $25,000 by the end of the year.

If the money is raised, Sarah Helge, RRCA board president, said individual supporters of the Ramsdell Theatre will match the amount — for a total of $50,000.

“We know that the arts are essential to our lives. We recognize that the Ramsdell has a huge niche to fill in our area to be able to enhance the quality of life, not only here in Manistee, but in our five-county region,” said Helge. “This is one of the important reasons why people move here, buy second homes here, vacation and visit here — to be able to add this kind of quality to their lives.”

This is the first challenge grant in the history of the RRCA.

“Reaching this goal would be outstanding,” said Xavier Verna, executive director of the RRCA. “Our season this year has had a tremendous impact on the lives of many people. We are very fortunate for the ongoing support, and we look forward to keeping the momentum going. Through quality programming and effective business practice, it has inspired this generous act of kindness.”

If the grant is awarded, Verna and Helge said it would benefit numerous community events, such as live music, dance performances and theater shows; along with programs like the free summer “Tuesday Talks, Tunes and Tours,” workshops, classes and lectures.

The money would also assist in attracting visual artists for more exhibits in Hardy Hall.

“We are a wide-reaching organization bringing in headliners like Jeff Daniels, professional groups like the Grand Rapids Ballet and international artists,” said Verna. “This is an amazing opportunity, because with this support, we can fulfill our mission and continue to offer quality and diverse programming for all ages during our next season.”

Verna said the RRCA is not only striving to reach the set goal, but hoping to go beyond the expected $25,000. He said the money will be raised through individual contributions and business sponsorships.

“It’s always great to raise more than the challenge amount,” he said. “We would welcome that happening, but we’ll receive the $25,000 when we reach that amount. What everyone should consider is that, with the grant, we will be able to offer more quality programming like we did this year.”

To learn more about the grant or to donate, visit the RRCA website at www.RamsdellTheatre.org and click “make a donation,” or mail a contribution to 101 Maple St., Manistee, MI 49660. For questions, call Xavier Verna at (231) 398-9770.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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