Riddle: What’s bigger than a breadbox, filled with entertainment, activity and education and is good for you? Answer: The Campanile Center for the Arts.
Campanile has just celebrated its seventh anniversary of providing performances and arts instruction to the Lakeland area. By the efforts of four individuals, Keith Bane, Ken Ozinga, Trig Solberg and Martin Ozinga, the former St. Patrick’s Catholic Church was obtained with the purpose of becoming an all encompassing regional arts center.
Through the generosity of the “founding four,” River Valley Bank, and several other individuals, businesses and the Town of Minocqua, enough funds were raised to provide the down payment on the property and secure a mortgage. The monies raised also allowed for some improvements to help with the transformation but there is still a way to go.
Unfortunately, all good things come with a price tag and this is the case with the arts as well. With a facility that does so much, the operating expenses go hand-in-hand, such as the mortgage payment, maintenance and repair on a 50-year-old building, utilities, insurance, and the list goes on. Campanile provides world class entertainers while trying to keep ticket prices affordable for our attendees and sometimes the turnout doesn’t cover all of the associated costs of the performances.
Because of all of the costs, the center has actually been running with a deficit budget and the cash reserves are slowly dwindling.
Enter – The Membership Program. This was created two years ago to allow the public to truly take ownership of Campanile because it does belong to the people. In the short time Campanile has been in existence it has become a center for civic engagement and has contributed to the cultural, social and financial health of our area.
Through the donation of tickets, the Northwoods Non-Profits Got Talent Show and the Sharing the Spotlight Program, the center has been instrumental in helping to generate funds and awareness for our area’s other nonprofits, helping to shore up the infrastructure of our community.
It also acts as one piece of the puzzle to attract visitors and future residents to the Northwoods. When Campanile merged with the North Central Wisconsin Conservatory of the Arts it provided a more accommodating facility for instruction in all facets of music and art for children and adults. With the budget cuts the educational system has experienced over the past few years, especially pertaining to the arts, Campanile’s existence has become even more important to the youth of our community.
The membership program has had a great start but is not at the self-sustaining level yet. This is where several prominent businesses, civic leaders and individuals are becoming involved to guarantee the future and the health of Campanile.
In an attempt to include more people and businesses in the membership these people are issuing a “challenge” to the rest of the community. The first part of the challenge is that they are providing matching funds to encourage anyone who is not already a member to join the program or, for current members to upgrade to a higher level.
Second, the businesses included in this effort are challenging their commercial counterparts to also join in on the matching program.
Lastly, they would like these businesses and other individuals to issue that challenge to their customers, associates and everyone else who understands the important role that Campanile and the arts play in all of our lives.
The participants are: Christine and James Bollwinkle, Merrill Lynch Veldhuizen/Koch Group, River Valley Bank, The Lakeland Times, Keith and Kathy Bane, Trig and Tula Solberg, Ken and Judy Ozinga, Ken and Laurie Timm, Howard Medical Center/Ministry Medical Group, Loon Land Trading Co./Twisted Root Emporium, Woodruff Appliance, and Woody Woodruff and Jody Peterson. This group has generated $34,750 in seed money to initiate the program.
Think about it – the Conservatory at Campanile might have been where your son first touched a paintbrush, or you might have stood outside in the hall listening to your daughter taking her piano lesson. The auditorium’s stage is where the Lakeland Community Concert Band and the Campanile Chorus perform, where fallen soldiers and civic leaders have been honored, and it’s where we can reminisce to Elvis and rock to Gaelic Storm.
It’s played host to lectures, rallies, receptions and couples have started their married lives here. It’s where memories are made. The next time in, listen for the silent echoes of seven years of applause and think about what is yet to come.
Join in the challenge and keep the bell at Campanile ringing for future years. For more information or to become a member, call 715-356-9700.