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Clark Cultural Arts Center trying to learn what art experiences area people want

Clark Cultural Arts Center trying to learn what art experiences area people want Clark Cultural Arts Center trying to learn what art experiences area people want

When the Clark County Cultural Arts Center (CART) Neillsville was first created in 2016, its founders worked with members of the local community to bring in a wide array of artistic opportunities for residents. Now, the CART center wants help again, this time from people all across Clark County to bring in arts, classes and other events in which people living in the county are interested.

The CART Center Board held a meeting on Jan. 14 at its location at 201 E. 4th Street in Neillsville in the hopes of gathering ideas for the future of the center. Several individuals from both Neillsville and from other areas of the county attended the meeting, giving the organization several ideas of some future events that can be held at the center that would be of interest to local residents.

Since its founding by Linda Garrett-Holets and Dr. Sarah Holets, the CART Center has held many different events focused around the arts and cultures from around the world. Art exhibits by local artists, musical events, theatrical performances, art camps and culinary classes are just a few of the many things that have taken place within the walls of the CART Center.

“We’ve had a lot of classes, dinner theaters, we’ve taught how to make sushi and soap. We’ve taught art, abstract art to realism art. We’ve brought it all here,” said Garret-Holets at the meeting. “The arts help. It allows cultural diversities to mingle. Art allows for open expression.”

Even though the CART Center has held many different events, appealing to a wide array of artistic tastes, Garret-Holets said there have been times that CART has held an event where attendance numbers were low. This has an effect, she said, on both CART operations and on the individuals putting on the event.

“We would like more people. We still have utilities and bills to pay,” she said. “It’s often a hit and miss. We sometimes bring in something and think it will be a big hit, like we get a big band that’s popular in the big cities, and we only get 14 people to show up.”

For the CART Center’s next step forward, Garrett-Holets said they want to bring in more opportunities that they know people from within the county would be interested in. To do that, she said they need to know what those interests are.

“We’re looking to find out as CART how to provide access to all of Clark County, not just Neillsville,” she said. “Clark County has different needs. What do we want to see? Be engulfed in? Investigate?”

Though some ideas were brought forward at the meeting that the CART Center Board said they would

CHEYENNE THOMAS/STAFF PHOTO look into further — such as bringing in a children’s theater, STEM activities, and bringing in children’s authors for talks — they said more ideas are needed to get a better idea of what people in Clark County are interested in as a whole. To help narrow the field of choices, Garret-Holets said there is currently a 10-question survey on the CART Center website that people can take independently that asks about their current participation in CART events and what kind of activities they would like to see in the near future.

Once the Board has a direction of where the people want to go, Garrett-Holets said the CART Center will be able to begin applying for state and federal grants to help fund those programs and events that the people of Clark County want to have. The plan is to begin writing those grants in the upcoming months and using those funds later in 2020 and into 2021.

“This is all for you,” she said. “We need to know some things that we need to think about.”

The survey can be found at www.ccartcenter. org on the main page.