Waldron drama ends happily, arts saga continues
April 13, 2010
Monday’s announcement that Ivy Tech Community College hopes to purchase the John Waldron Arts Center from the city is welcome news after months of community hand-wringing on the future of the facility and its programs.
Although the deal is not final until the Bloomington City Council and the Ivy Tech board of trustees give formal approval, city staff and Ivy Tech’s Bloomington Chancellor John Whikehart have been discussing possible plans for the building once Ivy Tech takes over — which could be as early as April 21. The college intends to move its Center for Lifelong Learning into the Waldron, offering a mix of credit and non-credit arts classes. The noncredit classes will be open to the general public.
In addition, Ivy Tech will provide rent-free space to community radio station WFHB, while the station will provide regular mentions of its partnership with the college and offer internships to Ivy Tech students.
Performing arts groups will continue to have access to theater space, although the details of a rent schedule will have to be established. Whikehart said the college will seek input from local arts organizations before finalizing rental terms.
Given that the Bloomington Area Arts Council was faced with closing the Waldron’s doors just a few weeks ago, the city’s takeover and Ivy Tech’s planned acquisition of the facility could make a very happy ending to a long saga of frustration and finger-pointing.
What remains to be resolved is the future of arts leadership in our community. Divested of the Waldron, will a reconfigured and re-energized Bloomington Area Arts Council — or some successor thereto — step forward and help secure the position of our community as an economically thriving and diverse arts mecca? We hope so.
Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2010