Several leaders of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce were named to the City of Bloomington Waldron Recommendation Task Force, a group appointed by Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton to give advice on the future of the Waldron building at 122 S. Walnut Street.
Task force members include Cindy Kinnarney, German American Bank regional president and Chamber board chair; A. John Rose, founder of Textillery Weavers and co-chair of the Chamber Advocacy Council; John West, commercial broker/owner of FC Tucker Realty and co-chair of the Chamber Advocacy Council; Travis Vencel, director of development for TWG real estate development company and a member of the Chamber Legislative Council; and Ron Walker, CFC Properties vice president of operations and Chamber director.
The Waldron task force is co-chaired by Miah Michaelsen and Valerie Peña, who serves on the Chamber Advocacy Council. Michaelsen is deputy director of the Indiana Arts Commission. Peña is assistant vice president/chief of staff for the Office of Government Relations & Economic Engagement at Indiana University.
More information and updates are posted on the city's Waldron task force website.
Miah Michaelsen and Valerie Peña were named co-chairs of the Waldron Recommendation Committee, a group appointed by Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton to give advice on the future of the Waldron building at 122 S. Walnut Street.
Ivy Tech, which has owned the former city hall for several years, is returning it to the city. That transaction is expected to be completed in early 2021, according to Sean Starowitz, the city's assistant director of economic development for the arts. He gave an update on the process at the Bloomington Arts Commission's Oct. 14 meeting.
Michaelsen is Deputy Director of the Indiana Arts Commission. Peña is Assistant Vice President/Chief of Staff for the Office of Government Relations & Economic Engagement at Indiana University. According to the city's press release, the city will be seeking nominations for other committee members. To nominate or self-nominate, contact Mary Catherine Carmichael, the city's Director of Public Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-349-3406.
In addition, IU Professor Mark Levin is leading a Capstone class of graduate students to do a feasibility study of the Waldron. And a coalition of Cardinal Stage, Bloomington Playwrights Project and Pigasus Institute submitted a proposal to manage the Waldron. You can find a video describing that proposal here.
Erin Predmore, CEO of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, was a guest on the Oct. 16, 2020 WFIU Noon Edition, focused on how COVD-related festival cancellations are impacting southern Indiana.
Other panelists were Judy Epp, Spencer Pride fundraising director; Diana Choate, Monroe County Fall Festival president; and Elaine Bedel, Indiana Destination and Development Corporation secretary and CEO.
Click here to listen to a recording of the discussion. Read the WFIU report: "Bloomington Chamber CEO Talks Effects of Local Event Cancellations."
The Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association and the Bloomington Arts Commission are seeking applications for a second round of funding to foster the arts and cultivate cultural experiences in Bloomington.
Nonprofit organizations and businesses in the arts and cultural sector can apply for funds starting Friday, September 4 at noon at the following link: https://bloomington.in.gov/arts/grants. Applications will be evaluated according to organizational capacity, community impact, equity and inclusion efforts, artistic quality, and programming needs. Completed applications are due Friday, October 2, at 5 p.m., with awards to be announced and distribution anticipated by late October.
As part of the city's Recover Forward initiative, in May 2020 the BUEA and the BAC awarded $80,800 in grant funding to 26 nonprofit organizations whose programming was interrupted or otherwise impacted by the pandemic.
NOTE: Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, serves on the BUEA board.
Three panelists representing different aspects of Bloomington's performing arts sector shared their views at an Aug. 13 Chamber Speaker Series event.
Topics in the wide-ranging discussion included the impact of COVID-19 on performing arts organizations, how groups are adapting in creative ways, infrastructure needs, ways that new collaborations are forming, and the need for ongoing support during these challenging times.
According to a 2019 study commissioned by Cardinal Stage, the Bloomington/Monroe County performing arts sector adds over $4 million annually to the local economy and supports more than 160 jobs here.
Click here to view a recording of the Speaker Series discussion.
More than 300 people signed a letter to the City of Bloomington administration, supporting the continued use of the Waldron building at 122 S. Walnut for arts & cultural purposes.
Ivy Tech has owned the building for several years, and recently announced plans to return it to the city. That transaction is expected to be completed in August.
The petition, organized by Arts Forward Bloomington, in part asks the city to keep the building's "current function as an arts center, particularly a performance venue available for public use.”
Sean Starowitz, the city's assistant director for the arts, told the Chamber that a public engagement process will be held later this year to get input on the building's future use.
Click here to see the Arts Forward Bloomington press release, with a full text of the letter and a list of signatories.
As part of an effort to revise its strategic plan, the Bloomington Arts Commission is seeking feedback via an online survey.
The brief survey takes 2-5 minutes to complete. It asks several freeform questions about your awareness of the commission, what you'd like the commission to do for the city's residents, and what the commission might do to become better known in the community.
Click here to take the survey.
The commission's 2017-2019 strategic plan is available online here.
At their quarterly meeting on Jan. 14, Arts Forward Bloomington held a forum focused on transportation issues that affect local arts organizations.
The group heard from Michael Shermis, the City of Bloomington's special projects coordinator, about current transportation-related activities, including a grant from ADA Indiana used to train people who are elderly or with disabilities how to use Uber.
Beth Rosenbarger, the city's planning services manager, discussed transportation issues in the context of the city's comprehensive plan and transportation plan.
The group discussed what kind of incentives might be offered by local arts organizations to encourage patrons to use alternative forms of transportation when coming to events, rather than driving a car. Ideas included offering free concessions for people who walk, bike or take the bus. The possibility of changing three parking spaces in front of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater into a drop-off/pick-up zone was also discussed.
In general, Arts Forward Bloomington wants to make sure the voice of the arts community is heard on a range of issues affecting the health of that sector.
Arts Forward Bloomington will hold its next forum in April, focusing on space needs for arts organizations. The group's steering committee includes Danielle McClelland, former director of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater; Gabe Gloden, Managing Director of Cardinal Stage; Ken Buzzard, President of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra; Susan Swaney, Artistic Director of Voces Novae and Founder of Sing for Joy! Senior Choir; and Kay Olges, Board President for Windfall Dancers.
Arts Forward Bloomington is hosting a quarterly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14 that focuses on issues related to transportation and the arts.
Topics will include the status of local parking and transportation plans, as well as ways that arts organizations and local government can partner to increase accessibility to those with transportation needs. The discussion also will address how to incentivize patrons to consider alternate forms of transportation.
The meeting is free and open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood. Click here for more information on the AFB Facebook page.
As part of its Better Together – Creative Places Initiative, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County is seeking applications for $20,000 in grants to activate or create public spaces that advance a more vibrant, welcoming, and inclusive community.
Proposals will be accepted from organizations that are designated as 501(c)(3) entities or that fall within the category of an exempt organization, such as schools, governmental units, and religious organizations.
Projects proposed should:
Click here for more information on how to apply. The application deadline is Feb. 29, with grants awarded in April 2020.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy