JULY 2019 Newsletter


Contracts for Grant, Credit Contracts Signed and Sealed – Dick Hogan, CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has signed two contracts with our organization:

· One for a $250,000 Community Development Investment grant for our project.· Another for $732,000 in Wisconsin tax credits.

As a non-profit corporation, we cannot use the tax credits, but we can sell them to for-profit entities at 82 cents on the dollar, so we will net about $600,000 from the credits. That means $850,000 from the two WEDC contracts. Here’s a big “thank you” to WEDC and the Wisconsin taxpayers for this essential support. We couldn’t accomplish a high quality restoration without these funds.

Artwork Restoration Contract Signed – Chuck Dwyer, a renowned regional artist who grew up in West Bend, will join Conrad Schmitt Studios of New Berlin to restore the hidden artwork on the walls, ceiling, pilasters and beams of our Art Deco theatre. The contract with Conrad Schmitt was signed at $83,000. Funds are being raised to cover this unexpected expense. Dwyer and the other restoration artists will use the same stencil art method used in the original theatre. Dwyer said when he went into the theatre as a boy he didn’t notice the art. He said he was more concerned about how to hold his date’s hand.

Construction Roars Ahead – The lead paint and asbestos in the interior of the building are gone. The crumbling cream city bricks that make up the upper levels of the building and parapets are being removed and replaced. The split granite front façade and metal mansard overhangs are history; we will bring the original brick front back. Work will begin next on the electrical and HVAC systems. MSI General, our general contractor, is right on schedule.

Blade on cover of City Maps – Our perimeter lit theatre sign, called the “blade,” will be on the cover of the new city map published by the Wets Bend Chamber of Commerce. There are three “iconic images” that define and identify our city: the Old Courthouse, the Museum of Wisconsin Art and the blade of “The Bend.” Thanks to the chamber’s executive director, Craig Farrell, for promoting our historic theatre.

Fund Raiser Major Success – A fundraiser in early June at West Bend country Club brought in more than $200,000. “The generosity of our supporters that evening puts us in the red zone toward our fund raising goal,” said Brooke Novaczyk, board member and head organizer of the event. More than two dozen volunteers pitched in to make the raise a success, as did 125 attendees.

First Movie Screened in the Theatre – The opening gala on November 26, 1929 showed the Warner Bros. musical “Is Everybody Happy” featuring Ted Lewis and his jazz band. A second film that night featured Laurel and Hardy in “A Perfect Day.” The gala also opened with vaudeville acts, but those acts faded out of our theatre as the popularity of movies boomed during the Great Depression.


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