Ada, Donald and Jeanette Sanders, owners of the Fox Theater in downtown Stevens Point, donated the historic building to the Arts Alliance of Portage County Friday, Feb. 1.
“My brother, sister and I have been waiting a long time for the right opportunity to contribute the Fox to the cultural vitality of our community,” said Ada Sanders. “It has always been our goal to see the Fox reopened.”
The Arts Alliance has put in place an initial steering committee whose sole focus and responsibility will be the development and future operation of the Fox, doing business as, Fox Theatre, LLC, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.
Gerard McKenna, community volunteer and former dean of the College of Fine Arts & Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, has agreed to serve as the committee’s chairperson.
“I look forward to being part of the new possibilities this will present to our community”, said McKenna.
The planning for the future of this historic and architectural landmark will be a long process which will include addressing the building’s current condition, completing a historic structures report, and securing renovation funding from various sources, including grants and private donations.
The Sanders family had been in conversations with the Arts Alliance over the past year concerning the donation. The razing of the downtown mall by the city as part of efforts to revitalize that area helped prompt the donation.
“We all care about the future of the Fox,” said Bill Schierl, Arts Alliance of Portage County president. “We are very pleased to be able to facilitate this donation and what it can mean for arts and culture in Portage County.”
A fund supporting the Fox Theatre LLC and its plan to renovate and operate the Fox has been created at the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin, 1501 Clark St., PO Box 968, Stevens Point, WI 54481. Donations are being accepted at this time.
The Arts Alliance of Portage County is a nonprofit, member-supported arts and culture advocacy organization connecting Portage County to its arts.
The Art Alliance, along with advocacy and promoting the creative economy, produces the Community Show each March; co-sponsors ArtsMonth each April and ArtsWalk in May, and hosts the Central Wisconsin Film Festival each November.