There may not be performances on stage right now at Memorial Auditorium, but this month a significant and long-awaited improvement was completed. The gold traveler stage curtain, circa 1960s, was replaced earlier with a new black curtain, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Dawson-Boyd Arts Association, Dawson-Boyd School District, community donors and a grant from Southwest Minnesota Arts Council.
“We are delighted to see this new curtain installed,” says performing arts director Luanne Fondell. “The gold curtain may have fond memories for generations of people, but it was very worn out!” According to Fondell, the curtain had been mended many times and had also lost its fire-retardant properties over time. When researching the project, other improvements were required as well. For example, all the “dog chains” used to hang the existing front curtain were no longer acceptable.
Dawson-Boyd Arts Association launched the fundraiser campaign to replace the gold curtain last November during the annual Give to the Max Day for non-profits in Minnesota. Later in the winter, Fondell wrote a grant to Southwest Minnesota Arts Council through its Equipment & Facilities Improvement grant program. The $10,000 grant was awarded in March and the Arts Association began working with Centre Stage Manufacturing in Sauk Centre to order the curtains. The process of dying and sewing the curtains took approximately twelve weeks. DBAA previously worked with Centre Stage when the back stage curtain was replaced in 2010.
Others who have helped with this project are audience members who designated gifts to this curtain project and also contributed to the “coffee bowl” in the lobby during performances. “Our thanks to every single person who helped with this project,” says Fondell. “Each donation makes a difference when big projects like this are done. We can’t wait to use it!”