MACC's Problem Is Failure To Support Itself - And Response

Monday, January 13, 2014

The MACC’s mission to promote the arts is laudable.  The problem lies in the MACC’s failure to generate income to support itself and to fund the extensive renovations and repairs the building requires. 

There is always a struggle to balance the wise use of financial resources with providing benefit to the largest number of citizens.  The Signal Mountain Library is a superb example of successfully achieving this balance.  There are over 5,000 members of the library.  The 2014 town budget projects $147,000 to support the library.  That is a cost of $30 per member to the town.  In addition, the Library Foundation has raised $100,000 for needed renovations.  Non-citizens must pay a $70 per year membership fee. 

The MACC currently has approximately 300 members based on participation in its classes.  The 2014 town budget projects $394,000 to support the MACC.  That is a cost of $1,300 per member to the town.  Non-citizens must pay a $30 per year membership fee.

The town has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the MACC building and another $1.6 million is needed to fund repairs and renovations to the building.  Will the investment of so large a sum exceed the value of the property?  Will the MACC ever approach supporting itself?  

Compare Bachman Community Center’s finances and services to those of the MACC.  The 2014 BCC budget is $85,000.  BCC self-funds all but $7,000 provided by the town of Walden.  Over the years the BCC Board has funded or has obtained grants to fund a new roof on the main building and the cafeteria, renovated the cafeteria, replaced all the gutters, repainted the exterior and interior, replaced flooring, renovated the windows, and provided the salary of a part-time director.  BCC hosts the popular Farmers’ Market and the 30 plot Community Garden.  It has provided space for public service programs rent-free or at a reduced rent.  These programs include Save Walden’s Ridge Hemlocks, Defensive Divas, Senior Citizen Tuesdays, and the AARP Defensive Driving Program.  The Mountain Arts Guild calls BCC home.  Artist rent rooms to use as studios. The Guild offers art classes and holds an exhibition during the annual Garden and Arts Expo.  Summer camps provide income as well as serve the community.  BCC has a broad mission statement which has also proved to be a success business model.

The lovely stone building housing the MACC is meaningful to many people.  It is a part of Signal Mountain’s history.  The optimum outcome would be the preservation of the original building without placing a huge financial burden on the citizens of Signal Mountain.  That could involve broadening the MACC’s mission statement to enlarge the membership and taking aggressive steps to obtain alternative funding, including grants. 

Barbara Womack
Signal Mountain

* * *

The MACC has various art classes - painting, pottery, adult, youth; musical classes - strings, guitar; ballet and other dance classes; yoga, puppetry, theatre - plus other classes. It is the site for many productions by the Signal Mountain Playhouse, has been the site for Brownie and Girl Scout troop meetings, and has seen at least one Eagle Scout project.

The original building, constructed in 1926, is a few years older than Bachman, built in 1933. Bachman was last modernized in 1984. I don't know when the MACC's last upgrade was before leaving the school system, but I know it was before 1984 (when my first child started kindergarten there).

The MACC seemed to be adequately funded a few years ago, although not enough for the massive costs to upgrade an 88 year old building. Change to that source of funding was brought about as the town increased it's involvement, and the amount available to the MACC has dropped. I would be interested to see the actual dollars the MACC received, by year, from the Hodgepodge, and not the amount Hodgepodge took in before expenses.

I wonder if the MACC is compensated by the town specifically for the expenses of the winter and indoor productions by the Signal Mountain Playhouse. That certainly shouldn't be considered a MACC expense for recordkeeping purposes.

I do not know if those who host programs at Bachman are required to carry insurance such as I was told would be required at the MACC if I could find someone willing to teach a cake decorating class there. 

Bachman appears to exist without extensive oversight by the town of Walden, whereas the MACC seems to have become more and more tightly controlled by the town council of Signal Mountain.

Comparing the two centers is like comparing apples to oranges. Perhaps the members of the town council of Signal Mountain should look at the structure of Bachman's board and it's relationship with the town of Walden. 

Macel Holloway
Signal Mountain



Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com; Include Your Full Name, Address, Phone Number For Verification

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to  news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. This includes your home address and phone number. We do not post the contact information, but need it for verification. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Luther’s B-17 Showed Up

I am a huge sap for our veterans and just the other days a reader shared the ultimate story about a guy who returned to his sweetheart at the end of World War II. The little town of Miller. Missouri, is located in the southwest corner of the state and the biggest thing to ever happen in Lawrence County is when a native son, James Lawrence, hollered “Don’t Give Up The Ship” in the ... (click for more)

Smith Denies He Told Young To Shoot Holsey In North Chattanooga Drug Deal That Cost A Life; Asks Jury To Spare Him Life Sentence

Briston "B.J." Smith told a Criminal Court jury on Friday afternoon that he never ordered Adram "A.B." Young to shot Charles "Chas" Holsey in a North Chattanooga drug deal that cost a life. Smith, who was 18 at the time and is now 20, asked the jury not to put him behind bars for life. The state is seeking a life sentence (51 years) on a first-degree felony murder charge. ... (click for more)

Jury Finds Milner Guilty Of Lesser Charge In Attack On Cancer Patient

A Criminal Court jury found 27-year-old Michael William Milner guilty of reckless endangerment in an attack on a cancer patient at an East Ridge motel on July 12, 2016. Milner had been charged with aggravated assault, which would have carried a possible prison sentence of 6-10 years because he was a Range II offender due to his prior record, prosecutor Bates Bryan said. The ... (click for more)

Sell-Out Crowd Treated To Wild Finish As Lookouts Nip Blue Wahoos Saturday, 3-2

With 6,376 fans on hand and down 2-0 to their final at bat, Chattanooga took advantage of  Pensacola's relief pitcher, Geoff Broussard, to rally for three runs in a walk-off 3-2 win. Broussard was unable to get a single batter out. Dan Rohlfing was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, giving the Chattanooga Lookouts the victory. Alex Perez scored the game-winning run ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)