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Portage Center of the Arts reopens next month

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Heidie Royal, Portage Center of the Arts executive director, explains where the new art exhibit Barns and Beyond will be placed in Drury Gallery once the building reopens Sept 9.

Portage Center for the Arts reopens Sept. 9 with a new exhibit and additional safety measures after discontinuing most events and remaining closed since late March.

Masks will be required for attendees and only five people, or one family, will be allowed in the building at once.

“We’re optimistic and hopeful that we can bring our programming back,” said Center for the Arts Executive Director Heidie Royal.

The center will open with limited hours of 1 to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Friday. Visitors must ring a newly installed doorbell for access to the building.

The Barns and Beyond exhibit in the Drury Gallery will open at the center. It features photographs of barns and sites from across the state artist Aaron Atkinson took while riding a bike throughout Wisconsin. The exhibit will be open virtually starting Sept. 4 and for in-person viewing Sept. 9.

Royal said many events and exhibits were cancelled while the center was closed. Those include the annual concert series, lunch break art series and larger events. Educational programs were provided over zoom during the summer months.

Larger events are cancelled until at least January, but Royal said the center’s board will revisit the current COVID-19 situation in December and decide future timelines.

Royal said the financial impact from being closed since March is difficult for the center, but it has retained one staff member and will remain open through the federal Paycheck Protection Program and grants from state art funds.

The center has also been able to retain many larger annual sponsors.

“As a non-profit the budget is always tight,” Royal said. “We’re grateful, it’s huge,. We’re trying to do some little fundraisers in fall but we’re very cautious about asking folks for too much at this time. Everybody’s a little tight. We’re really hopeful that another stimulus package will come through this fall too.”

Follow Nicole on Twitter @Nicole_Aimone

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