Wega Arts to celebrate anniversary
In celebration, the non-profit organization opening its doors to the community at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 19, for a Business After 5 event.
"All are invited to see the theater and the latest renovations," said Kathy Fehl, Wega Arts' artistic director.
Business After 5 is organized by the Weyauwega Area Chamber of Commerce. Fehl said that at the event, there will be appetizers, the cupcakes of Amanda Cupcake and a cake made by Kim Himebaugh of Krumbs.
In March of 2007 Fehl and Ian Teal formed the Weyauwega Arts Organization. In July of that same year, they bought the historic Gerold Opera House in Weyauwega's downtown.
Both Fehl and Teal have a background in writing, directing and producing theater and film.
"When we bought the building, we had to do everything," Fehl said. "It hadn't been used as a theater in 20 years."
Among the things that the opera house needed were new projection equipment, a new sound system and a wiring upgrade.
Those who visit the Gerold on April 19 will notice the new mahogany bar that Teal made last summer, the original 20-foot high tin ceiling and the wonderful acoustics that lend the theater well to hosting the arts and special events.
They will also see the shiny "old" hardwood floor that was buried under carpet, Fehl said.
The Business After 5 event will include the introduction of Wendy and Ross Schlomann of Clicka Foto. They will be booking weddings and special events at the Gerold Opera House.
Fehl said she had been talking to Wendy for some time about having her photography featured in their art gallery, which is located right next to the opera house.
From there, their talks grew to working together on special events.
In addition, Fehl has been collaborating with Carrie Gruman-Trinkner, who is the choral director at Weyauwega-Fremont High School.
Together, they recently offered a script-writing workshop for young writers.
Their plan is to develop one or more of the scripts into a play for Wega Arts' first ever one-act play festival, which will be held June 21-24, at the opera house.
The opera house will also be hosting several events this month for Script Frenzy.
Gruman-Trinkner is Wisconsin's regional leader for the international writing event in which participants try to write 100 pages of scripted material in one month.
In the last year, Wega Arts also brought two new events to the area - its international film festival last November and its Mardi Gras celebration in February.
Fehl said their second annual international film festival will be held in the fall, and next year, Mardi Gras will take place on the last Saturday before Fat Tuesday.
Other plans for this year include three days of watercolor workshops for children and plans to look into offering workshops for adults.
Plans also call for the board of Wega Arts to undertake a capital campaign to pay off the organization's mortgage and thus free up funds for more artistic projects, Fehl said.
During the past five years, there have been numerous renovation projects at the Gerold Opera House, and the building has been nominated to be on the state's register of historic places.
Fehl is pleased with how community support has grown for Wega Arts and what it is doing.
"We are trying to restore it to its former beauty," she said of the opera house. "It is a work in progress."
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