MHPN Press Release
The following release is forwarded by Tibbits Opera Foundation & Arts Council as a service to our local arts community.
“Tibbits is honored to be the host site for this event and also to have the Coldwater community recognized for its support of our restoration.”
Fall Benefit to Showcase Michigan Historic Preservation Network Awards presented to the Community of Coldwater and the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: September 23, 2014
CONTACT: Nancy Finegood, Executive Director
PHONE: (517) 371-8080
“Fall Benefit to Showcase Michigan Historic Preservation Network Awards presented to the Community of Coldwater and the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance”
September 23, 2014, Tibbits Opera House, Coldwater, Michigan (915 words)
LANSING, MI: The Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN) has held its Annual Fall Benefit for 20 years in support of its statewide programming. The organization has also taken the occasion to present one or more of its prestigious preservation awards. This year on the evening of Saturday, October 11, on the stage of the Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater, Michigan, the 2014 Community Award will be accepted on behalf of the Community of Coldwater. The second – the 2014 Leadership Award – is being awarded to the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. The MHPN invites the public to join the celebration.
The Community of Coldwater will be honored for the stunning reclamation of the Tibbits Opera House. The opulent Second Empire-styled opera house opened in 1882. In the 1930s, every shred of exterior 19th century detailing was destroyed during its conversion into a “modern” Art Deco movie theater. Removal of the Deco façade in the 1960s reduced the building to a characterless box. The Tibbits Opera Foundation and Arts Council, Inc. proposed in 1999 to have the theatre fully restored. Funds were raised with wide community support and façade work was completed in 2013.
The Saugatuck Dunes Coast Alliance will also be honored. Saugatuck’s Lake Michigan / Kalamazoo River & Dunes Coastal District is an area of roughly 2,000 acres of relatively undisturbed dune and woodlands that hold a concentration of interconnected sites of historic and ecological significance. Despite the quiet beauty, this site has fostered a long public conversation about the rights of private development and the interests of the public. Championing conservation of the area has been the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, drawing attention to an issue with a statewide impact.
In addition to the presentation of these two awards, there is much to enjoy during the MHPN’s 20th Annual Fall Benefit. The MHPN always chooses a noteworthy historic venue as the evening’s backdrop. “Most often we have been in Detroit at such landmark buildings as the Fisher, Grand Army of the Republic, or Guardian,” notes Nancy Finegood, MHPN Executive Director. “But many times, we have traveled to other parts of the state to enjoy the Union Station in Durand, the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, or the Masonic Temple in Ypsilanti. This year, we’re delighted to be at the Tibbits.”
Christine Delaney, Executive Director of The Tibbits Opera Foundation and Arts Council, has written that restoration of the building to its original magnificence has had a far-reaching effect on the theatre, the community, and architectural preservation in general. “People who were not familiar with Tibbits had no way of recognizing its value,” Delaney noted. “The restored facade has drawn an increase in theatergoers through a renewed interest in the facility and Tibbits’ programs, which in turn positively impacts the local economy.”
“We welcome the public to this 20th annual event,” states Emily Jarvi, MHPN Fall Benefit Manager for the past five years. “It includes strolling dinner fare and dessert, a hosted beer and wine bar, opera house tours, and our popular silent and live auctions including everything from overnights at some of Michigan’s best historic hotels and B&Bs to books, football and symphony tickets, and Michigan-themed crafts.” But Jarvi emphasizes that this year, the evening includes much more.
Before the doors to the Fall Benefit open, the public is invited to tour the Kerr Building, a great historic building project just footsteps from the Tibbits Opera House. Join Owner and Developer JMWingard, LLC, Lake Michigan Financial Corporation, and MHPN’s Historic Resource Council for 30-minute guided tours of a 19th-century downtown space with new commercial and residential uses. There is no charge for attendees but they must make a reservation by phoning or e-mailing the MHPN office. A Council member will confirm your timeslot, meeting point, and discuss dress and safety requirements.
As in every community that hosts an MHPN activity,” states Janet Kreger, Fall Benefit Assistant Manager this year, “we fully endorse that you stay the weekend – ‘Make It a Coldwater Weekend!’ Coldwater is a diverse place with plenty to see and do.” Whether you want to get your pumpkins at a country stand, go antiques shopping, or tour a winery, your weekend will fill up quickly. Both the local Comfort Inn & Suites ($60) and Hampton Inn ($80) are offering a ‘Tibbits Rate’ for those coming in for the event.
The MHPN’s 20th Annual Fall Benefit will be Saturday, October 11, from 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM at the Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater. Register by Friday, October 3 on-line or by printing a registration form at www.mhpn.org. Fall Benefit tickets are $100 per person, or $75 for students and government employees.
The Tibbits Opera House is located at 14 South Hanchett Street in Coldwater, MI 49036. The facility is barrier free; some portions visited during the tours are not. City parking is across the street and free. Dress is business attire. For more information, go to the MHPN website at www.mhpn.org, call 517-371-8080, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1981, the MHPN is Michigan’s statewide preservation organization and the advocacy and resource group for preservationists from all backgrounds. For more information about the organization, visit www.mhpn.org.