The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 12, 2013

Waseca Arts Center is moving up

WASECA — Saturday was the last day of cramming art exhibits, a gift shop and an office into the tiny Waseca Art Center space at 410 State St.

The center closed its doors for the last time at 2 p.m. And Pat Beckmann won’t miss it.

“Totally ready (to leave),” she said.

The old place was way too small, she said. That’s part of the incentive to get out of there. But also, the Waseca Arts Council’s new place — which will open its doors Feb. 1 — is pretty great.

Beckmann can’t wait to open it up to the public.

“It’s just really beautiful,” she said.

The Waseca Art Center and the Waseca Arts Council have been a provider of the arts in the Waseca community for more than 35 years. The organization began in 1976 as a traveling exhibit, quickly transitioning into a storefront and then finally to the old building on State Street.

Beckmann said, even when the organization first moved in, the place was too small.

“It was a very pleasant space with some nice skylights and the location was perfect, so we took it anyway,” Beckmann told The Free Press in 2010, when the search was underway for a new space.

For a number of years, staff have been on the lookout for an adequate place to move, even considering building an addition onto the 410 State St. building.

They had their eyes on a two-story family-owned home a couple of years ago built in 1916, but the $429,000 price tag was too hefty.

So instead, they bought the former JCPenney building at 200 State St. North in November 2011 for an undisclosed sum.

The family-owned house would have been great because it was move-in ready, Beckmann said. Their new place at 200 State St. North, built in the 1890s, needed a lot of work.

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