Arts & Culture Alliance looks forward to new year

The Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance had its annual meeting Thursday afternoon, detailing where it has been in the previous year and where it would like to go in the upcoming year.

After a brief video titled “The Arts in Marshall County,” the board introduced its board members and reviewed its minutes from its 2012 meeting.

The group lauded the success of events such as its participation in Oktemberfest, Arts & Compassion Soup Luncheon, the third grade reading initiative and its involvement in RAGBRAI.

Other notable highlights included its partnership with the Marshalltown Central Business District in making strides to install a pedestrian walkway between Fiddle & Whistle and Apgar Photo Studio, the fourth annual Art Walk and the group’s Bach in a Day festival.

Still, the group’s largest event remains the Linn Creek Arts Festival.

Chad Weir, board president, said the festival saw record turnout last year with just over 2,700 people showing up to the event. The group will continue to offer online registration for artists.

“That will pay dividends in the future,” he said.

A breakdown of the non-profit’s revenue and expenses shows that the Linn Creek Arts Festival generates the second most revenue and is the second biggest expense incurred by the alliance. In 2012, the alliance generated nearly $79,000 and spent just over $67,000, which is good considering the previous year had the group running at a loss.

The board recognized Sue Martin, formerly of the Martha Ellen Tye Foundation, as a retiring board member and presented her with its Friend of the Arts Award.

The Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance offers three kinds of memberships: individual, business and organization. Statistics from the group show that individual memberships make up the majority of memberships and that the group’s membership peaked in 2010 at about 170 members; it now hovers near 130 members.

Julie Miller, Karn Gregoire and Jon Muller stepped in as board members for 2013.

Weir said there is a misperception that there is nothing to do in Marshalltown. The alliance needs to get the word out about all the events taking place through the Marshalltown Convention & Visitors Bureau, Parks and Recreation and other agencies.

“It amazes me how many people don’t know what’s going on,” Weir said. “People aren’t looking for something to do.”