Launching fundraising efforts

The Kaleva Art Gallery will be hosting a fundraiser on Friday that will support a universally accessible entrance, a project they hope to complete by next winter. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

Kaleva Art Gallery to start fund for accessible entrance

KALEVA — The Kaleva Art Gallery calls one of the oldest buildings in the village home, and continues to thrive in the historic location.

In an effort to make the gallery something that can be enjoyed by all, fundraising efforts have begun that will allow a universally accessible entrance to be installed on the building’s east side.

Cindy Asiala, of the Kaleva Art Gallery cooperative, said the new entrance will be safer for all visitors, because the current entrance has steep stairs that accumulate ice during the winter months.

The universally accessible entrance will be located on the east side of the Kaleva Art Gallery, and will serve as the main entrance once completed. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

“It has been bad every winter, but this winter has been especially bad,” said Asiala. “It has been so icy that it has been concerning for people using the stairs. A few years ago we decided to look into building a handicap accessible entrance, and we got a bid for it that would get it totally in line with the regulations.”

The project will cost $10,000, and the goal is to have the project completed by next winter.

Fundraising efforts will launch from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, with Valentines specials including candies and cookies, and chair massages offered with a donation.

“We have already set aside a few thousand dollars and that’s a start, but we will be kicking off the fundraising on Friday,” said Asiala. “We are hoping to get people to come support us.”

Although the new entrance will be the main point of entry to the gallery, Asiala said the original entrance will remain as is.

“This building is iconic partly because of the side entrance, it is a really significant identifier,” she said. “We will keep it, but we won’t use it. There’s lots of periods of history to be seen in this building and we want to keep it all going.”

The Kaleva Art Gallery showcases the talents of many local artists and crafters. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

The building, located on 14449 Wuoksi Ave., is certainly an important part of the Village of Kaleva’s history.

Asiala explained the building is where the printing press from New York set up to send out the flyer to bring Finnish settlers to Kaleva in 1900.

“Many settlers came in the first wave in 1900, and that’s when the New York publishing company set up shop here,” she said. “They stayed in this building from 1900 until 1910. Since then, the building has been a drug store and then was purchased by the village. Then they let us move the gallery here.”

The gallery will continue to host fundraising events throughout the next year, in an effort to make the universally accessible entrance a reality.

For more information on Friday’s fundraiser, call (231) 362-2749. The Kaleva Art Gallery is open Friday through Sunday.

Contact Jane Bond at (231) 398-3111 or email jane.bond@hearst.com. Follow her on Twitter: @MNA_Jane.

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