Capital campaign begins for MACC

As work continues on the Marshalltown Arts & Civic Center (MACC), formerly known as the Fisher Community Center, efforts are ongoing to raise funds for the $6 million project.

Karn Gregoire, the project coordinator and member of the Fisher Governor Board of Trustees, said a capital campaign committee has been created. The goal is to raise the necessary funds for the renovation project.

“We’re going to do donations, fundraising, all of it,” she said. “Because of the amount we have to obtain, we are going after the larger grants and not the $1,000 ones.”

Gregoire said they have to raise $2 million, and they need to get started on it as soon as possible.

The facility was severely damaged by the August 2020 derecho, causing all of the tenants to evacuate as the building was no longer habitable. Crews moved in and began removing the asbestos and replacing the roof. The removal of the asbestos carried a cost of $500,000 and the roof replacement was $750,000.

Gregoire said the board will begin the bidding process for a general contractor in August.

The Fisher Governor Board of Trustees secured promises of funding from the City of Marshalltown and Marshall County to apply for an $850,000 state grant.

Whether or not the project will get the grant will not be known until the end of the year — hence why there is a campaign push.

The renovation is divided into three phases — the Martha Ellen Tye Playhouse, the civic center with the reception hall and the art museum. Some of the features estimated to have huge impact on economic development is improving the conference rooms and installing a full catering kitchen.

Gregoire said luckily the larger rooms and the kitchen will make the venue more desirable to larger gatherings. The MACC will be able to easily accommodate 100 to 150 people.

The Fisher art collection, which contains numerous pieces of impressionist paintings, was fortunately in Chicago being cleaned and restored when the derecho hit. There it remains until the building is back in order and the art can be stored safely and securely. Gregoire said heightened security will be in place to ensure the pieces stay safe.

“All of the art has been completely restored,” she said. “That was one piece of the this process and now we have to pay for storage in an environmentally-controlled area — until we are ready to bring it back home.”

Normally all of the pieces were displayed year-round. Gregoire said the collection is something that has not been marketed well, but that will change. The new museum will feature the paintings in a rotation and is expected to draw art enthusiasts from across the nation.

The Fisher family wants the collection, which features paintings from artists such as Mary Cassatt and Camille Pissaro, to remain in Marshalltown.

Because of the impact it will have on tourism through art and gatherings, the $6 million project is eligible for funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, which provides $350 billion to local governments to cover COVID-19-related expenditures and damages incurred.

During a presentation to the Marshall County Board of Supervisors, Auditor Nan Benson waited for the word “tourism” to be spoken by Gregoire in relation to the positive impacts MACC will have on Marshalltown.

Even though the county continues to learn about what is eligible for ARPA funding, Benson said the MACC project should.


Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611

or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.


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