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Wyandotte Regional Art Center fills up with tenants

It didn't take long for the schedule at the Wyandotte Regional Arts Center to fill up with classes, performances, and lectures since it opened in March.

The center, in the former Masonic Temple, boasts classes for children and adults, a children's theater performance in August, and presentations ranging from Michelangelo to ghost hunters. The building is managed by the Downriver Council for the Arts.

"We're just really thrilled with how they're doing and all the things they're bringing to the city," says Patt Slack, owner of the Rivers Edge Gallery and chair of Wyandotte's Downtown Development Authority. The couple of lectures she's attended have been at full capacity.

The building is mostly ready to be occupied, and an elevator has been installed, she says. Eventually, they'd still like to enlarge the stage area and increase seating. They're also continuing with historical renovations, such as uncovering windows, although funding is limited.

The center gets an annual operating grant from the DDA, which is covered by the city and amounts to $40,000 annually. The city also covered the renovation costs. "We're just thrilled we were able to get the support we did," Slack says. "In these economic times, who's building art centers? To get that kind of support is overwhelming."

There is still room for a few artists to set up studio space in the building, and there are teaching areas for classes.

The city renovated the three-story building at 81 Chestnut St. last year. The structure date backs to the 19th century and since its time as a Masonic temple it has served as home to the Church of Many Miracles. Wyandotte purchased the building at 81 Chestnut St., just outside of downtown, in 2007.

Source: Patt Slack, owner of River's Edge Gallery

Writer: Kristin Lukowski

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