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‘Home is Where the ART is’

Fundraiser for Phillips Auditorium set for Friday

-Messenger file photo
The Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association is renovating the old Phillips Middle School Auditorium. A Fort Dodge Study Club event, “Home is Where the ART is,” will support the cause at the venue this Friday at 7 p.m.

The Fort Dodge Study Club and the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association are teaming up to bring a new era of entertainment to the Phillips Auditorium.

This Friday, the FDSC will host its annual fundraiser, “Home is Where the ART is,” at the iconic community venue. Proceeds from the event — which starts at 7 p.m. — will support the Fine Arts Association’s ongoing renovation project for the second consecutive year.

“This is a great chance for the public to see where funds raised will be going,” said Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association Executive Director Shelly Bottorff. “Phillips Auditorium is a wonderful space, but it needs some TLC.

“With the help of the community, we can make it a great performance venue once again.”

Performances by the Gabriel Alves Jazz Trio and Neil Anders and the Merritt Brothers headline the evening’s festivities.

-Messenger file photo
After Phillips Middle School was renovated into apartments, the old auditorium remained intact. The Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association is planning to renovate and restore the space for the public to use. The auditorium seats 612.

Phillips Auditorium was vacated in 2014 when the school closed. In 2019, the FDFAA and the venue’s owners — Foutch Brothers, LLC — formed a partnership to help meet a need for more local rehearsal and performance space.

According to Bottorff, some renovations have been completed. The auditorium is still needing updated stage curtains, lighting, carpet, bathrooms and much more.

“Last year’s online event raised more than $20,000 and we (Study Club members) are very grateful to the community,” said event co-chair Abigail Johnson. “Phillips Auditorium still needs help to shine again.

“I’m excited that this year we can invite people inside this historic space, so they can fall in love with its potential in the community.”

Tickets are $25. Go to https://one.bidpal.net/studyclub to purchase, become a sponsor, make a donation, or view auction items.

Attendees will see future plans for the space, with live music, art demonstrations, a silent auction, heavy appetizers and drinks being offered.

Built in 1922, Phillips Middle School was Fort Dodge’s high school before transitioning into North Junior High 36 years later. The name was changed to Phillips Middle School in 1984.

In 2018, The Phillips Luxury Apartments opened, with the auditorium being left intact.

“Home is Where the ART is” serves as an annual community fundraiser hosted by the Fort Dodge Study Club, a women’s philanthropic group.

The Fort Dodge Study Club was formed in 1935. It supports various causes and groups in the community.

The Phillips Auditorium is located at 1015 Fifth Ave. N. in Fort Dodge.

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