Arts and Entertainment

Red Curtain holds fundraiser

Marysville Police Lt. Mark Thomas, left, gets a lay of the land of the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts’ proposed renovations to the Dunn Lumber building from project manager Doug Walter on Feb. 19. - Kirk Boxleitner
Marysville Police Lt. Mark Thomas, left, gets a lay of the land of the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts’ proposed renovations to the Dunn Lumber building from project manager Doug Walter on Feb. 19.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — The community got a chance to check out the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts’ plans for the former Dunn Lumber building on Grove Street, during a fundraiser luncheon on Tuesday, Feb. 18, that included models of the prospective renovations to the very same building where they were enjoying their catered meal.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring delivered an extended-length opening speech in which he recalled the city being approached by the Marysville Arts Coalition three years ago to bring more art into the Marysville community. He described their efforts as a true grassroots campaign, driven by citizens rather than the city, and cited the Art Walk and the seasonal displays of wooden wreaths and umbrellas around town as “early victories” that helped to spark further interest in an art scene in Marysville.

“There’s not a lot of opportunities for performing arts in Marysville,” Nehring said. “A lot of times, we have to go to other communities to see them, whether it’s Everett or Arlington. And as mayor, any time there’s an activity that people want to go to that’s out of town, I ask myself how we can bring that into town, but the fact of the matter is that we simply don’t have suitable venues for them. We don’t even really have room enough for large meetings.”

Nehring pointed out that it would be too prohibitive — in terms of time, cost and staffing — for the city to take charge of something like a local arts center, but he’s more than happy to help drum up support for a community-based campaign to start one up, especially after touring through the former Dunn Lumber facility near the end of last year.

“That really sold me on what the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts is doing,” Nehring said. “It’s a no-brainer. Once their dream is realized, this space is going to be so well-used that it’s going to help revitalize this community.”

As the population of Marysville has expanded from 23,000 when Nehring started his first term on the Marysville City Council in 2002, to just north of 62,000 now, he touted the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts as a potential means of generating jobs for Marysville and keeping more money within the city limits.

“Right now, where they’re at is the vision stage,” Nehring said. “I know that it’s not easy to meet building requirements, but we need the building to be safe and accessible for everybody.”

Scott Randall, president of the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts, recalled how the Historic Everett Theatre’s limits of availability inspired him to wonder why his group couldn’t just get their own permanent space.

“There’s a real need for a cultural identity here in Marysville,” said Randall, who grew up in Everett but has lived the past six years in Marysville. “I toured through a dozen buildings in Marysville, Arlington and Stanwood, and this was the one that called out to me, because it’s in the heart of its community. I’ve seen Everett evolve into a center for the arts, and there’s nothing that they have that we don’t have, except for a head-start.”

Randall echoed Nehring by encouraging the luncheon’s attendees to imagine what Marysville could be like within a decade of the institution of a local arts center, with more tourists and restaurants and shops drawn to the community as a result.

In the meantime, Randall acknowledged that this project is still in Phase I, because while new carpeting and fresh coats of paint have been applied, fire alarms and ADA-compliant bathrooms are still in the works.

“Once we can get those things taken care of, the city has agreed to grant us limited occupancy, so that we can generate our own income stream through classes and meetings,” Randall said. “In the meantime, it’s been costing us $4,500 a month for this place since June, and our well of grants is running dry.”

Randall is so committed to letting the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts’ facility evolve into whatever it needs to be that he’s hesitant to even give the building a name yet, especially since that could be a prize for a generous enough donor.

“I’ve raised five children in the arts, and it’s helped to build their character,” said Ken Kettler, president and chief operating officer of the Tulalip Resort Casino. “I think this is a great foundation, which is why I’m pleased to present you with a check for $1,000.”

The Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts invites those interested in donating or learning more to visit its Indiegogo fundraising campaign page at www.indiegogo.com/projects/new-marysville-community-arts-center.

“Also, we’ve always looking for volunteers,” Randall said. “There are lots of opportunities to participate, and those will increase as time goes by.”

For more information on the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts, log onto www.redcurtainfoundation.org.

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