The Bay Arts Council has formed The Society for the Preservation and Restoration of the Historic Masonic Temple Foundation of Bay City
BAY CITY ARTS MECCA: Old Masonic Temple Gets IRS Non-Profit Status
Restoration and Slate of Activities Planned Under Mike Wooley's Leadership
A new focal point and venue for appreciation of the arts is in the works for Bay City/Bay County.
And, the process of breathing life into a historic structure is continuing with added fervor.
The Bay Arts Council has formed The Society for the Preservation and Restoration of the Historic Masonic Temple Foundation of Bay City and has been granted 501 (c) (3) designation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
This important designation was achieved by a committee under the leadership of Mike Wooley, local attorney. Under this IRS approval, tax exempt donations can be solicited for this historic structure.
Foundation members include Wooley, Chris Chesny, Don Baker, Bethany Sharp, Bill Gregory, Eric Jyhla, Dee Dee Wacksman, John Meyer, Cheryl Kotenko, and Brad Meyer.
The building was purchased by Bay Arts Council in 2005 from the Masonic Order and has been used for concerts, an annual Hell's Half Mile Film and Music Festival and annual Haunted Temple Halloween event.
Application for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places is being completed by committee members. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has more than 86,000 listings, all places that Americans should care about. An article entitled "They tell the story of us as a people and nation" was published in the Preservation magazine, May/June 2011 issue.
A grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville, Wisconsin, funded a planning report to be completed by John Meyer one of Michigan's premier historic restoration architects. The Jeffris Foundation is dedicated to historical architectural heritage and cultural preservation.
The new Historic Masonic Temple Foundation will follow this plan in their restoration efforts. Eventually the building will be available for public use and may include rehearsal space for local schools, art education programs, concert venues and much more. The vision is for the building to become a "Mecca for the Arts" in Bay City, according to a news release issued by the new group.
The building cornerstone was laid on June 24, 1891 and the Romanesque styled building of red sandstone was completed in 1893. It is one of the oldest Masonic structures in the state and nation and a rare example of Moorish design. It was built for the Bay City Valley of the Scottish Rite. The Joppa Lodge that sold the building to Bay Arts Council has been meeting since 1874.
Donations for this project can be made through the Bay Area Community Foundation Historic Masonic Temple Project Fund, 1000 Adams St. Bay City, MI 48708. More information is available by calling 989-893-4438 or accessing www.bayfoundation.org
For further information contact Bay Arts Council, 989-893-0343 www.bayartscouncil.org
Arts/Theater Article 7173
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at email@example.com)
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