A Grand event coming up

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey

Interim Director Anne Makepeace (left), the Chair of the Fundraising Committee Andrea Boettger (middle) and Maggie Schwab, former board chair (right), stand next to a miniature Eiffel Tower sculpture that will be on display Saturday evening at The Grand.

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Interim Director Anne Makepeace (left), the Chair of the Fundraising Committee Andrea Boettger (middle) and Maggie Schwab, former board chair (right), stand next to a miniature Eiffel Tower sculpture that will be on display Saturday evening at The Grand.

NEW ULM — The Grand Center for Arts and Culture is kicking off its endowment campaign with “Ete E Paris: An Evening in Paris.”

Starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at The Grand, ticket holders will be treated to a five-course tasting meal from Lola’s, drinks and live music. Tickets are $85 each, and only a few remain. Call The Grand at (507) 359-9222.

Music will be provided by Parisian swing duo Reynold Phillpsek and Matt Senjam from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Starting at 8:30 p.m., the Minnesota Barking Ducks will play.

Additionally there will be a caricaturist, live and silent auctions, a wine pull and more. The event kicks off an endowment campaign to raise money to sustain The Grand’s basic needs.

“This endowment campaign is so that we have a base amount of money, eventually between $75,000 and $100,000, that can be drawn on every year,” Interim Director Anne Makepeace said.

That would be just to maintain the 10,000-square-foot building. To be able to draw that much money out each year in just interest, The Grand would need about $2 million in principal, Makepeace said.

The nonprofit currently has about $1 million in its endowment and is pursuing two matching grants. One is for $50,000, which Makepeace hopes to complete Saturday, and another is $200,000.

The endowment is necessary for yearly maintenance because while The Grand generates some revenue from renting studios, it’s not nearly enough.

Because it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, there are rules limiting how much it can charge for studios, Makepeace said.

The rent that The Grand would have to charge to break even on yearly maintenance would be too high for the market in New Ulm to sustain.

While raising money for basic maintenance is not glamorous, once The Grand has a large enough endowment, the art center can focus on raising money for its stated purpose — art.

“If you take that monkey off our back, then we can go forward and do more programming, have more education — arts education, and do more for the community,” Makepeace said.

“Right now we are so busy with trying to raise the money to maintain the building and maintain what we have, we cannot really expand.”

Makepeace said she would like to see The Grand expand in a few key places, such as adding studios to the basement for printing or ceramics and summer camps for music and art.

It could take years before anything like that forms in the art center, but it will not happen until The Grand has a sustainable endowment.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.

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