Page 15 - Scene Magazine 42-07 July 2017
P. 15

Small Business
BY PATTY WILLIAMS
The Franke Center for the Arts located in historic down- town Marshall and occupying a 1920’s historic Methodist Church building is quickly becom- ing known as one
of the premier small concert venues in the Midwest. Its mission is to entertain, explore, and enrich through the perform- ing arts.
The Center’s history of how it came to be might not be known or remembered by many. Back in the 1970’s the Meth- odist Church moved out of the build- ing, and it was taken over by the City of Marshall and used for many years as the Marshall Civic Center. Under the City’s management, the building became home of the Marshall Recreation Department as well as the Marshall Civic Players, the oldest amateur theatrical organization in Michigan. In 1998 it became apparent that the Civic Center needed to be updat- ed to meet fire and safety codes. At that time, a bond proposal to renovate the fa- cility failed by a very close vote, causing city leaders to consider the demolition or sale of the building. Fortunately, that possibility was challenged by a group of civic and culturally – minded communi- ty members to save, improve and main- tain the use of the building as a center for
Intimate Venue – Ultimate Experience
the arts and cultural activities for Mar- shall and South Central Michigan com- munities. This group, known as MCCT, Inc. (Marshall Civic Center Trust), a 501 c(3), was formed, and they purchased the building from the City and raised funds to renovate the building. It was in 2004 that the Joyce and Lucy Franke Center for the Arts finally opened and graced the historic streets of Marshall.
The Center continued to function as a civic center for Marshall, serving as home to the Marshall Rotary and Ex- change Clubs, other community and business gatherings and the Marshall Civic Players but also became recog- nized as a high-quality concert and per- forming arts venue. The Center formed a Children’s Theater program that is known throughout the area as an out- standing children’s theater program and has a proven production track record.
In the last year the Children’s Theater has added to its roster education through creative expression programming.
In 2016 a much needed renovation project “Refresh The Franke” was com- pleted with many cosmetic upgrades and technical updates done to the venue re- sulting in making the Center truly shine as an architectural gem in Downtown Marshall. As part of the renovation, a new Lobby Bar (see inset photo) was created adjacent to the auditorium. This beautifully designed and crafted space allows patrons the opportunity to get a beverage without having to leave a per- formance.
The venue hosts approximately 25 different performing art events each season, with the goal to provide a wide variety of choices for interested audienc- es. We would like to build our audiences by offering high-quality entertainment, education and enrichment to all. Blues, jazz, classical, rock, and bluegrass mu- sic, comedy, theater, magic, and film are some of the variety of shows offered. Be- ing a successful arts center will definite- ly add to the economic stability of our community as well.
The Franke Center for the Arts is ‘the place to go’ to experience the performing arts and live concerts in an intimate 270 seat setting... make sure to check it out and discover one of Marshall’s best kept secrets... visit Frankecenterforthearts.org.
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