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

The Message Of The GOP Is Hate And Division

Maybe it is me.  Maybe it is me that thinks the likes of Donald Trump or Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and some of the others represent the voting public.  I noticed and watched, again, with horror, that another shooting and killing happened in Colorado yesterday.  Couple that with some of the hysterical rhetoric of the Republican Party and wonder, or I do, just what is happening ... (click for more)

Lung Cancer, The Deadliest Cancer In The United States

This time of year, I remember to give thanks for my faith, my family and friends and my health. Recently, I learned that lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer in the United States; in fact, more Americans die each year from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. One in 13 men and one in 16 women will develop the disease in their lifetime. It’s important to learn about ... (click for more)

Fire Breaks Out At McKee Bakery Plant 2; Damages Listed At $15,000; Propane Tanks Were Near Blaze

Fire broke out at a McKee Food plant at Collegedale on Saturday night. At 6:45 p.m. , an employee at McKee Foods called 911 call reporting a fire at McKee Foods Plant 2 located at 10260 McKee Dr. Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department responded and arrived on the scene reporting flames 15 feet high at one end of the building of Plant 2. According to fire officials, ... (click for more)

Woman Shot Saturday Night Near O'Rear Street

A woman was shot while driving on Saturday night. Just after  9 p.m.  the Chattanooga Police Department responded to reports of a person shot. Once on scene, police located a female victim near the 2500 block of O'Rear Street suffering from a life-threatening gunshot wound to the face. The victim was driving a vehicle when the vehicle was struck by gunfire. She  ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Texas Hands Lady Vols First Loss, 64-53

KNOXVILLE – The Tennessee Lady Vols won their first five games of the season, despite playing sub-par basketball against lesser-talented teams. They weren’t quite so lucky here at Thompson Boling Arena Sunday afternoon before the largest crowd of the year at 10,204 fans. The eighth-ranked Texas Longhorns ended Tennessee’s 27-game home winning streak with a 64-53 victory ... (click for more)

Red Bank Comeback Trips Hixson In Vandergriff Duals

The last time Red Bank's wrestling Lions faced the Hixson Wildcats in the Hixson gym, Hixson won a close match to earn a spot in the State Duals. These same two teams squared off at Hixson Saturday afternoon in the championship match of the Vandergriff Duals, but the results were different as the Lions rallied for a 34-31 win. Red Bank had won its pool at Hixson Middle ... (click for more)