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Carnegie Cultural Center
Summer, 2013
The mission of the Carnegie Cultural Center is to establish
a vital presence of the Arts, History and Cultural Awareness

for the enlightenment, enjoyment and benefit of all
Chickasaw County residents and visitors.
2013...a Very Good Year
We here at the Cultural Center have declared 2013 to be the “Year of Our Carnegie”. It’s not one of those “benchmark” anniversaries ...the Carnegie building is 104 years old and the Cultural Center will be 19 years old this fall. It will be a significant year nonetheless because during the City elections in November New Hampton residents will be asked to approve a support levy that will help guarantee the future health of an institution that has become an integral asset for the community over the past 19 years. That institution, of course, is the Carnegie Cultural Center.
From the very beginning, the Cultural Center was conceived of as a permanent entity. It was established in to preserve a community heirloom (the Carnegie Library building) in the spirit of Andrew Carnegie’s original intention...that the building enhance the life of the community. In awarding grants to fund the construction of libraries, Mr. Carnegie mandated that the local government allocate continuous funding for the library. So, in a sense, we are simply seeking to continue that practice as well.
Over the past 19 years, the Carnegie Cultural Center has done much to serve the local population and has proven to be a regional attraction as well. It has been brought along...developed and a labor of love by a lot of volunteers. The Center has thrived in its partnership with the City and through the generosity of annual donors.  Now it is time to set the course for a healthy future. That course includes two parallel lanes...staffing and financial viability.  We expect that our partnership with the City, our annual budget donors and our Foundation benefactors will meet the bulk of our fiduciary needs and we will continue to rely on invaluable volunteers for many tasks. However, the Cultural Center has developed to the point that, in order to continue as a quality institution, it will be necessary to hire full-time leadership staff. It is toward that end that the support levy is being tendered.
Recognizing the important role that non-profit agencies like the Cultural Center play in the quality of life for local communities and, therefore, the State as a whole, the State of Iowa has established a means of encouraging and sustaining them...Iowa Code #384.12(4). This legislation allows municipalities to approve a local levy specifically for the support of cultural and scientific institutions. The levy cap is 27 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value. Stated simply, and in consideration of the State rollback formula, a residence valued at $100,000 would realize a raise in property tax of approximately $14 per year.  Commercial properties would be assessed $27 per $100,000 of value.
Is it worth it? Obviously, we, and many others, believe it IS. Look closely at communities throughout the state to determine what it is that make some seem to stand out above others. It is no one thing, of course, that makes a quality community. It is an accumulation
of assets, some of which are, no doubt, things like the Cultural Center. Look closely at New Hampton. What “frills” could be taken away without lessening the overall quality of the town?...the swimming pool?...Mikkelson Park? ...the Library?...the CWC?...a church or two?  You get the idea.
Please vote “Yes” in favor of the Cultural Center support levy in November. For very little, you’ll be giving a lot to New Hampton and Chickasaw County.
Speaking of the Future...  
The Carnegie Cultural Center Foundation recently got a healthy boost from the Adeline Fenneman estate. Proud of her roots in Chickasaw County, a great teller of her stories, and a lover of the history she helped create, Adeline’s gift will help preserve those aspects of her legacy. We are all enriched by her generosity and share her vision of expansion. THANKS  Adeline!
In the More Immediate Future...
The Cultural Center will be sponsoring its annual “Farewell
to Summer” concert on Sunday, August 11, 6:30 pm at the Mikkelson Park bandshell. This year’s event features the Johnson family of New Hartford, Iowa. Sometimes called “Iowa’s answer to the Von Trapp family”, they have been performing as the “Johnson Strings” for the past six years. Led by parents, Paul and Linda, the ensemble includes their six children ranging in age from 10 to 20 and has a repertoire that varies from classical to ragtime, Christian, bluegrass, gospel, waltzes and folk music.  Don’t miss this!
In the Recent Past...
The Carnegie Cultural Center has reason to be proud of its Permanent Exhibits. Comprised of models masterfully crafted by area artisans, each exhibit tells a piece of our story. Our ability to tell that story has been expanded by some recent acquisitions. February saw the opening of the “Road-builders” display comprised of high-ly detailed, wooden models of road construction equipment by Charles City woodworker, Martin Jones. Photos and maps further illustrate the development of the system of county roads and state highways that are integral to our farming economy and a mobile, 2013 life style.
Meeting Chuck and Jan Bittmer of Clarksville at the Sowers Family artist reception last fall proved to be a fortunate encounter for us. Their enthusiasm for our agricultural heritage came directly from their farming roots. Jan’s experiences as a “family farm hand” while growing up recalled a time earlier than her age, I thought (She’s younger than me, for Pete’s sake!) Chuck inherited his appreciation for even earlier farming practices from his step-dad, Richard Busse, who, it turns out, was a pioneer farming aficionado and collector. Pieces from Mr. Busse’s collection...hand hewn tools and implements and a hand-crafted model farmstead ...are just now making their way into our exhibits.
A recent “Oops!” requires an apology to Al & Katie Riley and Bill Purdy for missing their names on the list of 2012 donors that accompanied our budget appeal last November.
With a quick but heartfelt “THANK YOU” to Norb Shilleny for his invaluable help in organizing our Lawler archives book to prepare for the town’s recent Irish Festival Ann Conway for assuming the duties of preparing “mini” exhibits on our Treat marble fireplace at the Courthouse (stop in and see it!) the numerous folks who keep enriching our archives with their photos, information and all sorts of stuff... & to our incredible volunteers...

CCC Volunteer Administrator

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