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Mayor appoints arts task force

TYLER, July 3, 2013--City of Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass has appointed a task force to make recommendations to the City Council regarding the potential use of parts or all of the S.A. Lindsey Building at Elm and Broadway as an art center.

“We envision this art center serving our art community as well as becoming a tourism destination for the region,” said Bass.

The S.A. Lindsey Building was gifted to the City of Tyler in 2010 by the R.W. Fair Foundation and the Fair Estate.   It is located at 123 S. Broadway and is currently vacant. The structure has eight floors and more than 50,000 square feet of space.

The Art Center Task Force will be co-chaired by Don Warren and Beth Whitney.  While members are still being appointed, current members include Dana Cargile, Tracy Kenner, Mary Kay Lust, John Musselman, Jim Pendleton and Dr. Aubrey Sharpe.  Also, Mike Butler and Jason Jennings from Butler Architectural Group will serve as the consulting architects for the task force.

The task force has held its first meeting to discuss the scope of their work and is expected to make recommendations to the Mayor and Council by January of 2014.

“I am very pleased to see this task force begin their work,” added Bass.  “Very early in my career, I worked on the sixth floor of the Lindsey Building.  It has saddened me to see it sitting empty.  To have the opportunity to plan for its new life as an arts center is extremely gratifying.”

It is anticipated that the primary funding source for the arts center will be private donations.

“Our first step would be a complete renovation of the exterior and first two floors of the building, including major infrastructure upgrades in the HVAC, plumbing, electrical and elevator systems.   For that work, the initial estimate placed the cost at a little more than $2 million,” said Jason Jennings.  “The building, which is constructed of concrete and steel, is in remarkably good shape and ready to be put back into service.”

The vision for the project is that at least the first two floors would be a public arts space.  The task force will make recommendations about what that might encompass, as well as possible uses for the upper floors.

“This is a very challenging project and I am pleased to be able to have a hand in determining how the Lindsey Building will be used to bolster Tyler’s art community and to attract visitors,” said Task Force Co-Chair Beth Whitney.

“The possibilities are endless,” added Co-Chair Don Warren.  “This project could include anything from an art institute, a gallery that could include local and national talent, or classrooms to lofts or rehearsal space.  And all this under one roof!  It will be an incredible journey to explore all the possibilities.”

“This project will create amazing opportunities for local artists to show and sell their art to Tyler's incoming visitors and residents,” said local artist and Task Force Member Dana Cargile.

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