The Southern Missouri Arts Connection (SMAC) signed the lease on a building on historic Downing Street in Hollister on January 29, with plans to create an art center. The SMAC Art Center, at 7 Downing Street, will be the first of its kind in Hollister and is anticipated to increase public interest in this picturesque destination, as well as enhance the greater community through support of the visual arts.
Renovations will begin in the next several weeks, starting with a new roof. “We are expecting the work to be complete sometime in April,” said Tenille Blair-Neff, President of SMAC. The grand opening of the new SMAC Art Center will celebrate the culmination of the organization’s long-term vision and years of hard work. SMAC, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, has provided over 100 visual arts events, classes, workshops and public works projects for the community since its inception in 2014.
Through all their activities, SMAC has always kept alive the dream of an art center and gallery for visual artists. When property owners Don and Carol Jones of Castlerock Real Estate Investments, LLC, approached them in December about using their property for an art center, SMAC ran with the idea. The decision was approved at the SMAC Board January meeting. The art center will house a gallery in the front. Behind the gallery will be a large education center, where workshops, seminars and classes will be held. When not in use for such, the space will be treated as an open studio for area artists. Through the summer, the SMAC Art Camps for kids will be held there, as well. Five private studios will also be available for artists to lease from SMAC.
“With a home base, we can provide so many more events,” Ms. Blair-Neff said. The center will be a venue to showcase regional and national talent, as well as area artists. Being the first community art center in Hollister, SMAC hopes to make it an anchor business on Downing Street, attracting members of the community and tourists alike.
Southern Missouri Arts Connection (SMAC), a 501C3 non-profit local center of creativity, art education, innovation, and community partnership, strives to improve the quality of life in southern Missouri by connecting individuals with the arts, for the benefit of all.