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Concert series booked: Dahmen Barn addition awaits grant award

The interior of the new addition will look similar to this in its first summer of use.

Volunteer Peter Holland and Dahmen Barn board President Joanne Druffel paint a wall connected to the restrooms inside the Barn’s new addition. Exterior painting is expected to begin in the coming days as weather permits.

The 3,600-square foot addition to Uniontown’s Dahmen Barn will soon be in use in an unfinished capacity.

Highlighting an upcoming slate of events is the “2015 Summer Concert Series” which will feature seven nights of music, with audiences to gather in the bare-framed interior of the building.

The Uniontown Community Development Association, which owns the Barn, now awaits the Washington state legislature’s approval of a $122,000 grant to complete the interior work.

The project has been selected – and ranked fifth among 10 around the state – for a “Building For the Arts” grant, which then needs to be endorsed by the state legislature as part of the capital budget.

“It’s likely to go through,” said Dale Miller, President of UCDA. “But until they’re done, they’re not done. They’re deciding on millions of dollars in schools and transportation budgets. We’re just the background.”

The exterior of the Dahmen Barn’s new addition was officially completed in late January, leaving just the painting yet to be finished. Volunteers, after waiting on weather, hope to start in early May.

This week the Barn addition’s contractor, Magnum Construction of Clarkston, is expected to complete the two-stall restrooms, paid for by a $29,500 grant from the Inland Northwest Community Foundation.

The grant came through in February.

“We’re on a pay-as-you-go plan,” said Miller.

In preparation for the final stages of interior work, Mangum Construction is now updating the cost estimate for finishing.

Remaining items include insulation, wiring, interior surfaces and installation of a furnace and air conditioner. Final touches will include outfitting the commercial kitchen – which will be used for events as well as food entrepreneurs.

“In the meantime, we’ll use it as a very nice shelter in good weather,” said Miller. “I would guess the end of December or first part of (next) January for it to be all finished.”

All the while, funding will be key.

“If we get this ($122,000) grant, we’ll probably be within $50,000 to complete it all,” said Leslee Miller, Dahmen Barn Manager.

The new building – on the site of the barn’s original loafing shed – has a capacity of 175 for performances, compared to the 120 of the upstairs of the barn.

The “2015 Summer Concert Series” will be a new attraction created for the new space. One of the acts to appear is mandolin/fiddle player Richard Kriehn on July 11. He is a former Colton resident who plays with Garrison Keillor’s band on “A Prairie Home Companion.” He now lives in Minnesota, near where the weekly public radio show is taped in St. Paul.

“This will be our first use of the space and it will be a test,” said Leslee Miller of the summer series.

The first events of any kind scheduled in the new addition are a furniture (outdoor chair) making class June 6 and the annual fundraising tea June 13, which will feature a preview of the addition.

The two buildings are connected by a breezeway.

Funding for the addition has come from an ArtPlace America grant for $362,300, Whitman County .09 funding for $30,000 and $29,500 from Inland Northwest Community Foundation as well as private donations.

ArtPlace America chose the Uniontown project in 2013 from 1,200 applications nationwide as an exceptional example of creative placemaking.

ArtPlace America is a collaboration of national and regional foundations, banks and federal agencies committed to accelerating creative placemaking – using art to revitalize communities. ArtPlace America has awarded a total of $42.1 million in 134 grants to 124 projects in 79 communities across the U.S. (and a statewide project in the state of Connecticut).

Author Bio

Garth Meyer, Former reporter

Author photo

Garth Meyer is a former Whitman County Gazette reporter.


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