Center Significant To City
Southwest City’s Arts Center holds both cultural and artistic significance to residents of the small town.
The landmark building was constructed in 1886 and served as the local Presbyterian Church for close to a century. A unique, triple-gabled roof and stunning stained-glass windows highlight the building’s facade.
In the 1990s, as the congregation dwindled and the building sat vacant, the diocese donated the church to be used as an arts center. The Southwest City Arts Center was subsequently formed as a non-profit to promote art and history awareness within the community while also funding renovations to the historic building.
The original board of directors eventually disbanded, but Megan Hill and Connie Adams took initiative and re-kindled local interest in the Arts Center.
Hill and Adams are now president co-chairs of the board.
“Neither of us could do it alone, but we both hated the thought of the building falling into disrepair,” said Hill. “Our partnership works out perfectly.”
Since June of last year, the board has made strides to improve the historic building; they’ve re-caulked the windows and replaced broken panes, painted the interior and exterior, and installed an access door from the lower annex to the stage in order for performers to more easily move from backstage to on-stage.
“Our future goals are to, eventually, make the stage handicapped accessible,” said Hill. “We would also like to re-floor the stage and purchase a new curtain.”
She said the building will need a new roof in the near future as well.
Repairs are primarily financed through donors in the community and fundraisers such as the annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, but a number of upcoming events are scheduled at the Arts Center to help fuel progress.
On Friday, Oct. 13, and Saturday, Oct. 14, the center will present “The Crazy Quilt Club,” a funny, fastpaced mystery set in a retirement home full of quilters and knitters.
Curiosity at the retirement home piques when one of the residents dies after drinking bad punch. Clues begin to appear and other residents turn up dead as the story unravels. Add in a black widow spider, an old cave, a gold nugget, an ominous phone call, a storm-induced power outage, and a colorful cast of familiar faces and ridiculousness ensues.
To remain updated on events and classes at the Arts Center, follow its page on Facebook: The Southwest City Arts Center.
The Arts Center hosted a number of youth-oriented events over the summer as well, including free drum lessons once a week and two Art Camps. In the first session, artists were given a blank canvas of white sneakers and unlimited creative freedom. Markers, pens and paint were deliberately applied and dried, then the kids were able to wear their newest masterpieces. In the second session, trash became art as kids up-cycled used water bottles into whimsical paper-mache bird sculptures.
Remarkable architecture, sloped seating and a softly-arched stage area make the Arts Center a wonderful venue for weddings, receptions, meetings, and presentations too. The building can accommodate 100 guests and is equipped with a small kitchen, restroom and spacious sideyard. And local businesses such as The Corner Cafe, The Banquet House and Timbered-Inn Catering can provide a full, fresh catering experience.
The Southwest City Arts Center is located at 207 Broadway Street in Southwest City.
Those interested in renting the venue may contact Megan Hill at 479-633-1938 or Connie Adams at 417-3660498.