By Elizabeth Lanier
While attending events at the Cultural Center, people in the community can now go see how it all began with the newly opened exhibit, celebrating the building’s past, present and future impact on the community throughout the past 40 years. The opening of the exhibit was on April 28 and will continue to be opened until August 27. The display contains three galleries to explore, each of which has its own characteristics that individually highlight the center’s relevance in Madison’s history.
The center, built in 1896, has acted as foundation for many things including a school and library before transitioning into a Cultural Center in 1976. The exhibit itself focuses on the building’s role as a Cultural Center and celebrates the foundation that made their dream possible four decades ago. “I personally think the building itself is fascinating, it has a tremendous presence and because of the effort of so many dedicated to its preservation, it will enjoy a long future. I also am in awe of the vision, ambition, and execution of the dream of creating the Center 40 years ago,” said Mitzi Prochnow, who was in charge of putting the exhibit together.
Throughout its years as a cultural center, it has catered to famous performers and hosted great events. “When the Center first opened in 1976, it was an extremely unique institution, a regional arts center not connected to a university or major city. In the beginning, the Center was the only “local” institution to offer national and international level visual and performing arts as well as a regional museum and related programs. Now, there are more arts centers in the region and more choices for the public. Today the Center continues to bring high level programs and provides outreach to the community in many ways,” Prochnow explained.
She also went on to say, “The current exhibit was created from materials in the Center’s archives. Exploring the information from these materials provides a glimpse into the vision, commitment, and scope that were necessary to realize the dream that is the Morgan County Cultural Center.”
Everyone involved has aided the center in achieving its mission “to enhance education and enjoyment of the arts and humanities by offering high quality permanent exhibits, temporary exhibitions, and performances while preserving our historic building.” The exhibit celebrates the success the building has experienced as a Cultural Center as well as the people who made it possible—the staff, trustees, volunteers, donors, sponsors, and the community have all played a vital role in the Center’s success.