County continues to support arts center

The Anoka County Board will continue to provide financial support to the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts.

The Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts is located in Anoka County’s Manomin Park on East River Road in Fridley. The building in which it is housed was constructed in 1847 as the John Banfill Wayside Inn as a stop for soldiers and fur traders who traveled the Red River Trail.

The Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts is located in Anoka County’s Manomin Park on East River Road in Fridley. The building in which it is housed was constructed in 1847 as the John Banfill Wayside Inn as a stop for soldiers and fur traders who traveled the Red River Trail.

On the recommendation of its Parks and Community Services Committee, the board Dec. 6 approved a purchase of service agreement with the arts center through which the county will pay the center $46,000.

The purchase of service agreement is in effect for calendar year 2014.

The arts center is located in the historic Banfill-Locke House, which is part of the county’s Manomin Park on East River Road in Fridley.

According to John VonDeLinde, parks and community services division manager, the county has provided funding for the arts center since 1988, some 25 years ago.

The funding, adjusted for inflation, has remained stable throughout the years, VonDeLinde said.

The money not only goes to assist the arts center with staffing and program costs, but also exterior maintenance of the property, he said.

The arts center is responsible for interior maintenance to ensure that the condition of the property is suitable for use as an arts center, according to the agreement.

This includes janitorial, cleaning and cosmetic interior maintenance such as painting, the agreement states.

In addition, the county pays all utility costs of the property except for three telephone lines.

According to County Commissioner Jim Kordiak, chairperson of the Parks and Community Services Committee, the county has enjoyed an excellent relationship with the arts center over the years.

The programs at the center draw people from not just Anoka County, but from all over the Twin Cities area, Kordiak said.

The Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts is located in oldest remaining house in Minnesota used for activities, he said.

The John Banfill Wayside Inn was erected in 1847 as a stop for soldiers and fur traders who traveled the course of the Red River Trail.

Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts is a nonprofit community art center. Established in 1979, it was known as North Suburban Center for the Arts.

In 1988, the art center outgrew its original shopping mall home and settled in to the historic former tavern and farm house owned by the county.

The arts center provides a wide variety of arts programs for all ages, interests and abilities.

Programs include classes, exhibitions, family events, resident artists and arts camps for children.

According to the county website, Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts is dedicated to the belief that the presence of arts in the community has a vitalizing effect by promoting an awareness and appreciation of the arts.

The center encourages artists in all disciplines, providing opportunities for artists to exhibit, teach, market and perform their work, enriching the quality of life in the community, the county website states.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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