Wolverine brings $10,000 for art centerPublished 9:30pm Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Dowagiac Board of Education agreed Wednesday to sell the former Wolverine Building administrative offices at 206 Main St. to Michael Beatty as is for $10,000 for a nonprofit business called “Dowagiac Art Center.”
Among three bids received, two dollar amounts were identical.
The board accepted Beatty’s offer based on its fit with the home of the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival and community public sculpture program.
In fact, Dogwood, based at Huntington Bank, will be on the same block.
Stacy Leversen made the motion, supported by Mark Dobberstein.
The other $10,000 proposal would have provided professional office space to lawyers and accountants, Dobberstein said.
Beatty wants to remodel the main floor and garage area to house Dowagiac Art Center, using that space for classes, offices and perhaps a small local artist exhibition area and gift shop.
Part of the back parking lot would be used to display sculpture.
The second floor and front entrance would be used as it was originally when Mark Judd built it — as a residence.
The Wolverine Building is so known because it was the home of Laing’s Wolverine Mutual Insurance Co. until the early 1970s, when the company built its current headquarters on M-62 and a group of businessmen donated it to the school district.
School administrators moved down the street last October to the second floor of City Hall.
In developing a community fine arts education program, Beatty hopes to develop five art classes per semester by the end of one year and a full curriculum of 10 after two years.
He also envisions lectures, films, a book club and discussion groups, plus at least two other community events and, after two years, a sculpture event.
Beatty has a degree in fine arts education from Indiana University, Bloomington, as well as an extensive background with non-profits and the fine arts. From the late 1960s until the early 1970s, he worked independently as a grant writer.
and program developer in Lewiston, Maine, and South Bend, Ind.
From the early 1970s until the early ’80s, he worked for WNIT-TV, recognized nationally by PBS for his fundraising ability.
He won a George Peabody and a Chicago Emmy for programming.
His career, including his own companies since 1983, has taken him to New York City. In South Bend, as executive director of an AIDS ministry, in 15 years he grew a $25,000 budget to more than $1 million and increased staff from one part-time contract to more than 30 employees.
Beatty currently does program direction for Lifetime Education and Research Network Inc. (LEARN) and works as an artist and writer. A Michiana Art History Project book/video is being published by Indiana University South Bend.