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Introducing the Holmes Art Cellar: New creative space inside the DL Senior Center to host open house Friday

This is the coffee bar that has been set up inside the new Holmes Art Cellar, which shares space with the Detroit Lakes Senior Center in the basement of the Historic Holmes Theatre. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)1 / 2
This comfortable lounge area, complete with a painting of Big and Little Detroit Lake in the background, is part of the new Holmes Art Cellar that will be showcased at an open house set for this Friday, March 9 from 4 to 7 p.m. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)2 / 2

Last fall, Historic Holmes Theatre Arts Outreach Director Beth Gilbert embarked on a joint venture with the Detroit Lakes Senior Center to revamp the seniors' home in the basement of the theater.

The plan was to convert the Senior Center into a space that could not only accommodate the senior nutrition program, Meals on Wheels and various other senior social activities (as it has done since before the theater opened in 2003), but also provide a space to showcase the work of local artists, offer art classes and open a small shop for selling artwork and other hand-crafted items to the public.

"This senior center used to be very vibrant," Gilbert said last September when announcing their plans for the first time — but its participation numbers had been slowly dwindling, due in part to the ready availability of other local dining options besides the senior nutrition program.

So she and the Senior Center staff and volunteers came up with a plan to revitalize the space — and now, they're ready to unveil the new Holmes Art Cellar (HAC) to the public for the first time.

This coming Friday, March 9, the HAC will host an open house from 4 to 7 p.m., prior to the start of the Holmes Theatre's evening show at 7:30 p.m.

The open house will spotlight the work of local artists Kurt Anderson, who does wood turning, and Joann Knapp, who has been doing on-the-spot sketches of the Holmes Theatre's live shows for many years. After the show, Gilbert says, Knapp usually asks the artist to sign the sketch, then gives copies to both the artist and the theater, while keeping the original for her own collection.

"She will have about 12-15 of those sketches on display," Gilbert said, adding that Knapp is expected to attend the open house, though Anderson will not be available that evening.

In addition to the artwork, local musician Rhoda Habedank will be performing, and there will be appetizers and a cash bar for guests to enjoy while viewing the artwork as well as the newly revamped space — and they can even try their hand at making a piece of jewelry to take home with them, courtesy of local artist Krista Marie.

The open house will also offer the public an opportunity to view what goes on at the Senior Center, as well as some of the new senior citizen-focused programs being offered by the adjacent Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center.

"This will still be an active senior center," said Amy Stoller Stearns, the Holmes Theatre's executive director. "The space has just been updated and enhanced."

Gilbert says that in addition to the dining area for the senior nutrition program, Meals on Wheels kitchen and a space for card games, puzzles and other senior social activities, the new HAC will include a coffee bar (where coffee will be offered to the seniors free of charge), a lounge area with comfortable seating, a creative space for art classes, a small art shop, and an "Artist Spotlight" area, which will literally have a spotlight focused on it.

"A new artist will be showcased there every couple of months," said Gilbert, noting that an old-fashioned spotlight had been donated to the theater by a local resident and would be utilized in the new space.

The open house will be followed by a main stage show that is unlike anything else the theater has offered before, Stearns said — a unique combination of rock and theater titled "Jerome the Snake," featuring Minneapolis musicians The Twilight Hours.

"This show will feel like you've been transported far from Detroit Lakes," Stearns said. "It's not traditional theater, or a rock concert... it's truly a combination."

Twin Cities-based musician Humbird will perform a half-hour opening set before the main show, she added.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

(218) 844-1454