The Matthews works to raise funds for community art space in gallery

November 19, 2019

The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center in Spearfish is announcing a new effort to renovate the back room of their art gallery into a community art space. 

To fundraise the amount needed, the local arts organization is using South Dakota Day of Giving on December 3 to help launch their campaign to raise funds for the special project.

“If you have ever attended one of our craft activities, you’ve probably seen the back room of our gallery,” said Kyler Flock, community engagement manager at the Matthews. “While it functions, the room is not welcoming and it doesn’t optimize the space we have.

“We want to see every room at the Matthews utilized to its fullest, creative potential and have as many spaces as possible that our community can use to engage with and explore art.”

Kyler Flock

Flock went on to explain the vision for the room. He said beyond cosmetic improvements, more tables and seating would be added. The back half wall will be removed to create more floor space for events. The storage needed for general office supplies and other organization necessities will be contained to closed shelving on the walls, keeping it out of the way for the public. Additionally, wall to wall storage for craft supplies, paper, paint, and other items needed for art would be available and in reach at all times.  

“After the room is done, we have a huge list of events and activities we can’t wait to host, we just want the space to be as creative and fun as possible.” Flock added. 

Flock said the list of activities includes expanded craft days for children, art classes for both adults and youth, free community art workshop time, artist demonstrations, and even the possibility to rent the space for private events. 

“The possibilities are endless. At the end of the day, our biggest goal is to have another space available that gives our community the chance to create. We think that with a creative space like such, will continue to emphasize our mission of art is for everyone, and everyone is an artist,” Flock emphasized.

The idea of a renovation came out of a recent surge of art events that the Matthews hosted in the back room. In the past 6 months, the organization has held eight free kids’ craft days and hosted over 40 kids for an art activity during a summer Kids’ Club Kids field trip. 

“By the time I joined the staff, it was already evident that we were missing an opportunity to provide something amazing to our community through the use of this room,” said Darren Granaas, executive director at the Matthews. “When South Dakota Day of Giving came around, it seemed like the perfect time to launch a campaign focusing on turning this space into something better.”

“At the Matthews, we believe that art is for everyone and everyone is an artist. We can think of no better way to embody that mission than by providing a space for everyone to do art,” Granaas continued.

Between now and December 4, new donations to the Matthews will be earmarked to go towards the renovation of the back room of the gallery. Granaas said the campaign will continue past that date if more funds are needed. All donors to this campaign will have their name included on a donor wall which will be featured in the finished room. 

“We hope that community members will consider donating to this cause because we really think the entire community will benefit from it. With the public’s help, we can expand the reach and availability of the arts within Spearfish.”

Darren Granaas

As part of their fundraising activities, the Matthews is hosting “A Readers’ Theater Christmas Carol” on December 3 at 7:00 pm. This South Dakota Day of Giving event will include a 45-minute readers’ theater production of the classic tale A Christmas Carol and will be followed by live caroling. Admission to this event is free, but a donation to the Matthews is suggested. 

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