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‘Staging Our Future’ campaign begins at The Phipps

Among the leaders of the community portion of the “Staging Our Future” capital campaign for The Phipps Center for the Arts are, from left, Mark Gherty (community gifts chair), Roberta Pominville (team leader), Beth Reidenbach (team leader), Adele Dolan (team leader), Teresa Cameron (team leader), Laura Foster (team leader) and Phipps Executive Director John Potter. Team leaders not pictured, Deanna Grigus, Mary Seyer and Jeff Schutkoske.1 / 2
At another meeting, in the afternoon, on April 24, team leader Deanna Grigus, left, is with campaign general chair Todd Gillingham.2 / 2


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Twenty-two years after its last capital campaign, The Phipps Center for the Arts announced that “it is time to repair, refresh, and renew” the renowned performing arts venue. A new $2.4 million fundraising campaign, “Staging Our Future,” will focus on improvements to the building.

Founded over 30 years ago, The Phipps has been recognized as a top venue for lovers of theater, art and music. Providing performance and rehearsal space for actors, dancers, singers, and musicians as well as exhibition space for visual artists, The Phipps has become a cornerstone of an arts economy that contributes over $16 million into the St. Croix Valley region each year.

The Phipps facility includes classrooms, studios, performance and exhibit spaces that are used by thousands of area residents each year. On average, over 3,500 youth and adults are enrolled in classes annually, 25,000 patrons attend nearly 200 events, and over 700 artists are featured in exhibitions.

“In 2013 alone, over 750 volunteers contributed 46,849 hours of support -- the equivalent of over 22 full-time staff positions,” said Executive Director John H. Potter.

The “Staging Our Future” campaign seeks to raise almost $1.4 million to fund necessary improvements, such as updating aging light and sound systems, improving gallery and studio space, and renovating the theater seating. Funds will also be used to create a new pottery studio and art classroom, as well as purchase a digital harpsichord and a new grand piano. The campaign also aims to raise an additional $1 million to add to The Phipps Center Endowment for funding future projects.

Potter is hopeful that the campaign will reach its goals by the end of June.

“I am confident that the St. Croix Valley community will respond enthusiastically to our plans to refresh and improve our facilities,” Potter said. “The Phipps is understandably regarded as a regional arts treasure, and has enriched the lives of so many in the area. It is important for us to be able to offer this outstanding resource for years to come.”

The specific improvement plans are:

--Renovate interior, $186,011.

--Renovate and improve the galleries, $117,200.

--Convert theatrical lighting to LED, $182,206.

--Create new pottery studio and art classroom, $88,000.

--Upgrade to digital sound system, $71,000.

--Grand piano, $129,500.

--Renovate main stage and black box theaters, $104,926.

--Exterior lighting and landscaping, $98,900.

--Improve and renovate scene and costume shops, $159,700.

--Professional fees, $113,744.

--Contingency (10 percent of total), $125,119.

--Endowment, $1 million.

The Phipps Center endowment exists to ensure funding for future needs.

For further information, contact The Phipps at (715) 386-2305 or