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Becky Mitchell works on replacing some of the student artwork in the mobil that stands in the lobby of the Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes.

Next up: Glass work at Holmes

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With the “penny floor” on the main level of Detroit Lakes’ Historic Holmes Theatre nearing completion, the theater’s staff is beginning to turn its eye to some of the other improvement projects that need to be completed this spring.

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Last fall, the theater was the recipient of a Lakes Region Arts Council grant that enabled its staff to complete several aesthetic improvements, with the penny floor being the most labor-intensive.

A private donation from local residents Terry and Michelle Maier helped to move those improvements along even farther, according to Becky Mitchell, arts outreach coordinator for the Historic Holmes Theatre.

“We’re almost done,” Mitchell commented on the penny floor project, which began last September with hundreds of local residents turning up to lay copper pennies on the floor of the theater’s main hallway.

Monetary donations for the project — including buckets of pennies — also flowed in from all parts of the country, as past and present Detroit Lakes area residents vied to be a part of the process.

“Our community has really embraced this project wholeheartedly,” Mitchell said.

Now, however, the deadline for completion of the projects funded by the LRAC grant is looming just a couple of months ahead — and Mitchell is hoping to get a similar level of community support for the next part of the process. That project, Mitchell continued, is to create mosaic glass stair risers for each of the theater’s eight stairwells.

“We are getting ready to kick off that project right now,” she said. “The face (or riser) of all the stairs, from the basement to the third floor on both the main staircase and the one on the Oak Grove (Avenue) side, will be covered with mosaic glass designs.

“We’re looking for local art classes or artist groups that would like to help design and work on a particular staircase,” Mitchell added, noting that the Frazee-Vergas elementary and high schools have already committed to designing and placing the mosaic tiles for one of the stair levels.

Eight levels of stairs are included in this particular project. The stairs leading up from the theater lobby to the main hallway, as well as those leading up from the street entrance to the main hallway on the Oak Grove side, will have matching designs, based on the theater’s motto, “Step inside and see the world,” said Mitchell.

“The glass is all here,” she added. “All we have to do is some behind-the-scenes prep work. We should be able to schedule our first work sessions sometime in the next week or so.”

Those who would like to contribute toward the mosaic stair project are welcome to contact Mitchell at 218-844-7469, ext. 117, for more information on how to participate.

The ultimate goal, Mitchell said, is “to take our community theater to the next level. The theater is really developing its own visual image this year.”

Painting and updating of the theater’s walls was also included in the project; tracks for creating gallery displays in the theater’s lower level are in the process of being completed as well.

“We will have about 75 feet of gallery space available,” Mitchell said, adding that it is intended to provide another venue for local artists to display their work, whether it will be available for purchase or not.

“We have also created a permanent display of Josephine Allen art prints in our conference room,” she added; the art prints were donated by local residents Bev and Lynn Hummel.

A mobil in the theater’s lobby was also made into a permanent, movable structure with money from the LRAC grant.

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers and editor of MN Boomers magazine for the past 13 years. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 847-3151
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