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Matthews Opera House Receives Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant

Courtesy Matthews Opera House

The Matthews Opera House and Arts Center has been selected to receive a Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant. The $200,000 award will assist the century-old Spearfish landmark to centralize arts within the community.
The Matthews Opera House and Arts Center encompasses an historic opera house, a Main Street arts center for local artists and the annual Spearfish Festival in the Park.

But executive director Sian Young points out that people shouldn’t be turned off by the historic theatre’s name.

Credit Courtesy Matthews Opera House
Matthews Opera House executive director Sian Young

“The Matthews Opera House was named ‘Opera House’ in 1906 because the word ‘theatre’ in 1906 had a different connotation,” Young explains. “Opera House’ sounded higher class. And what we essentially are is a theatre. A lovely community resource and theatre that invites people of all backgrounds and all levels of interest in the arts to be a part of this community.”

That said…Young explains that the Bush grant is actually for the Spearfish community. She says a committee of local residents will examine what happens with the arts in small communities.

“Oftentimes in small communities arts are viewed primarily as entertainment,” observes Young, “and not as a tool for addressing community challenges or economic development.”

Young says that the goal is to use the Bush grant to create a new model for small communities where arts are considered as a voice at the table in addressing social challenges and economic opportunities.

Note: Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant committee info - Facilitated community conversations, art events, and pilot outreach projects are just a few of the tasks the ArtCentral committee will be a part of planning.  Applications to participate as a committee member are available through The Matthews website and in the gallery.  Applications are due by Oct. 26; applicants will be notified of selection by Nov. 4.

Related links: 

Matthews Opera House & Arts Center

Bush Foundation