Home is Where the ART Is

Virtual fundraising event planned for May 13

-Submitted photo
Kris Karr and Jeff Bluml as the Kozmic Brownies will be a part of the entertainment for the Home is Where the ART Is virtual fundraising event planned for May 13.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the show — from your own home.

“Home is Where the ART Is,” a virtual fundraising event, will be held Thursday from 7-9 p.m. featuring a strong line-up of entertainment highlighting the fine arts within the community and a silent and live auction.

The event is sponsored by the Fort Dodge Study Club in partnership with the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association with proceeds going towards efforts to renovate Phillips Auditorium.

Fundraising is nothing new for the Fort Dodge Study Club; however, Jenn Becker, co-chair of the event and Fort Dodge Study Club member, said this year is the first time their charity drive will be done virtually.

The event will be livestreamed that evening on the Fort Dodge Study Club’s Facebook page.

-Submitted photo
Work on the stage in Phillips Auditorium is close to completion. Renovations will allow the space to be utilized for a variety of purposes.

“The night is just filled with lots of local entertainment,” said Becker. “Musicians will be playing, we will have some painters who will be live in Phillips Auditorium starting at the beginning of the event and we will be checking on them throughout that time and at the end the pieces will be available on the auction.”

Entertainment includes Kozmic Brownies featuring Kris Karr and Jeff Bluml; Secor Strings, Clint Riedel, Alex Trevino and community representatives highlighting the arts within the Fort Dodge Community.

“I am just so thankful this is the first time in a really long time we have done something fundraiser-wise where we have an entire team of people that said they can’t wait to help you with a project,” said Shelly Bottorff, Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association director. “There are lots of opportunities to not only enjoy the entertainment, but to learn about the different things Fort Dodge Fine Arts does for our community.”

By using an online donation platform, businesses and individuals have the opportunity to go to the website and make their donation online.

Becker said there are different sponsorship opportunities.

-Submitted photo Fort Dodge Study Club members are shown during an annual fundraising event where they chose to support the Lotus Community Project.

“Based on their donation, their logo can get put onto the website, we will give shout outs during the live event if they wish to donate and have those different perks,” she said.

Donations can be mailed to Study Club c/o Andrea DeJong 2021 Gordon Pass, Fort Dodge, IA 50501 or made online at https://one.bidpal.net/studyclub/browse/donation; or visit the Fort Dodge Study Club Facebook page for more information.

“Our mission is to celebrate and create culture and connect people and artists in the community and I think this particular event is a really neat way for people to get a little bit of information about a lot of things,” said Bottorff.

Phillips Auditorium

Phillips Middle School was built in 1922 and was first known as North Junior High and served the Fort Dodge Community School District until 2014.

In 2018, the school was transformed into Phillips Luxury Apartments, but the auditorium was left intact.

In 2019, the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association and current owners, Foutch Brothers LLC, formed a partnership to renovate the space to serve the community.

Bottorff said work began six months ago and in that time, the stage has been repaired, new carpet is being installed and renovations have begun on the bathrooms.

Funds raised will be used towards new curtains, updated lighting and sound equipment and more.

“We are very close to being public ready for certain events,” she said.

-Submitted photo
The old carpet inside Phillips Auditorium has been removed and the process to install new carpeting is underway.

The possibilities of use of the auditorium for the community are endless. Bottorff imagines it will be used for meeting spaces, dance recitals, political forums, live music nights and more, but she is anticipating the auditorium to be used for rehearsals prior to a show being put on at another venue.

“We have really great performance facilities in Fort Dodge and they each highlight their own features,” she said. “But during the school year, it is incredibly difficult for these non-profit groups to be able to get into the larger stage spaces such as the middle school and Decker Auditorium at Iowa Central. They don’t have a home rehearsal space that is anything like what they are going to perform in, so, people will be able to use this at an affordable rate to rehearse then go to their home auditorium and put their performance on.”

Initially, Bottorff said they need to raise $150,000 to cover renovations.

“We have had some very generous donations so far, so we have been able to pay for things as we go,” she said.


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