Lorain Growth Consortium Meeting

Chief Cel Rivera will be the speaker at the Lorain Growth Corporation Downtown Consortium meeting on November 1st. Breakfast is available for $7.00 and the meeting starts promptly at 8am. Doors open at 7:30am. Location will be at Spectrum on 5th st.

2019-10-09T11:13:08-04:00October 9th, 2019|News|

Lorain leaders look to Mansfield for art center lessons

Lorain leaders look to Mansfield for art center lessons

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From right, Marianne Cooper, executive director of Richland Academy, an arts and dance studio and performance space in Mansfield, speaks to Lorain developer Jon Veard, his son, Eric Veard, and Lorain Growth Corp. President Jim Long during a visit to Lorain on Oct. 4, 2019. Cooper, who helped start Richland Academy in 1991, offered her insights about creating an arts center as a way to spur economic growth in downtown Lorain.
A Mansfield-based arts organization could provide inspiration for a fine arts creative space in downtown Lorain.

On Oct. 4, Lorain developer Jon Veard of United Property Management hosted a tour and lunch with Marianne Cooper, executive director of Richland Academy, 75 N. Walnut St., Mansfield.

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Marianne Cooper

Meeting her this year, it was clear her experience could add to Lorain efforts to create an arts center, Veard said.

“She’s got 47,000 square feet, full, busy, teaching kids the arts for 28 years,” he said. “Maybe she’ll provide the spark we need to get this off the ground.”

With the Palace Theater, Rockin’ on the River and the annual FireFish Festival, Lorain is no stranger to the visual arts, dance and music.

But establishing a studio for lessons, rehearsals and performances could become a new way to attract more people and investments in the city.

For years, Cooper worked as professor of music at Ohio State University’s Mansfield Campus.

Cooper offered her perspectives on rooting an arts center in downtown Lorain.

The meeting included Veard’s sons, Jon Jr. and Eric; Jim Long, president of Lorain Growth Corp.; Dina Ferrer, coordinator of the Lorain Learning Center at Lorain County Community College; Lorain attorney Anthony Giardini; Patrick Metzger, director of the Lorain County Port Authority, which operates the Lorain County Land Reutilization Corp., or county land bank.

After a tour, lunch guests included Cleveland businesswoman Radhika Reddy, who is overseeing creation of the Arial Broadway Hotel at 301 Broadway.

The session started in Veard’s conference room in the City Center, where Cooper described lessons from the start and growth of Richland Academy.

In Mansfield

Richland Academy started in 1991 and has grown to offer more than 230 classes, workshops, master classes and individual instruction per year during two 16-week semesters and one 8-week summer term, according to the organization.

That translates into six-day-a-week programming in music, dance, theater and visual arts.

Participation has grown to more than 3,000 class registrations per school year, more than $20,000 in scholarships a year and 10,000 area residents attending performances there, according to the organization.

Finding space

The art instruction studio has spurred a lot of work and a lot of joy over the years, Cooper said.

The Richland Academy began in 1991, three weeks after and across the street from the Richland Carrousel Park in downtown Mansfield.

Some local residents panned the merry-go-round when it was installed, Cooper said, but families loved it.

“In reality, it was the hinge point for downtown,” she said. “As goofy as people might think it is, children love it, families love it and it’s very healthy. So, then things began to crop up.”

At first, lessons were in a number of spaces.

Then Richland Academy moved into 7,000 square feet of an old car dealership.

“Of course, the site is very important because it then drives the vision of what could be offered,” Cooper said. “If you don’t know the space, you don’t know what it is that you can do in that space.”

Finding partners

A nonprofit arts group can’t do much work on its own.

“You’ve just got to surround yourself with the right people, and I know that’s what you’re trying to do and the commitment and the challenge for wanting to do an arts-centered something is much different from doing some other kind of entrepreneurship,” she said.

Recounting the early days of the Richland Academy, Cooper recounted skepticism of a panel of local business leaders who believed economic revitalization would happen by making widgets, not paintings, plays or dance recitals.

“What some people fail to look at is, the arts can be a catalyst and they can drive economy,” she said. “It may not be as fast as some other parts of the economy, but it can make a difference.

“And it makes a difference, not only with money, but with numbers of people and how lives are affected.”

Finding income

Richland Academy has been driven by “the hard facts of the income,” operating with at least 75 percent of its budget from earned income, with the remainder coming from grants and donations, Cooper said.

“I would challenge you that, that’s one of the most important things that you’re going to have to do, too,” she said. “It’s so difficult to find that lovely money.”

Practical issues

The group members agreed FireFish Festival organizers, including co-founder Joan Perch, have been champions for the arts as an economic development tool in Lorain.

With the Palace Theater, 617 Broadway, it appeared a lot of people thought the next-door Eagles Building at 573 Broadway would be a good arts-related building, Ferrer and Giardini said.

They toured the former Style Center building at 418 Broadway and the former Chase Bank building at 1949 Broadway: Both are owned by the county land bank.

Along with a vision and financial support, Cooper pointed out practical considerations such as parking and elevators if the space is more than one floor.

Dance classes can become a means of supporting an arts center because the student-teacher ratio is greater than one-to-one private instruction for musical instruments, she said.

@MJ_JournalRick on Twitter

Richard Payerchin covers Lorain City Hall, business news and other interesting stories for The Morning Journal. Reach the author at rpayerchin@MorningJournal.com or follow Richard on Twitter: @MJ_JournalRick.


2019-10-05T17:10:16-04:00October 5th, 2019|News|

Lorain Growth Consortium Meeting

Peggy Paulick of WOBL Radio will speak at the Sept. 6 Main Street Lorain consortium breakfast meeting on marketing dowtown Lorain businesses by utilizing the radio marketing concept. Her proposal is entitled, “Lorain is Open for Business.” The breakfast will held at Spectrum Vocational Center, 713 W. 5th St., Lorain. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. We start serving breakfast at 8 a.m. Main Street Lorain President Jim Long will also give a report and accept announcements from those attending. For those wishing to eat, breakfast is only $7.

2019-08-29T09:20:07-04:00August 29th, 2019|News|

Lorain Growth Consortium Meeting

Brian Barker, director of Business Development & Lending for CommStar Credit Union, 5609 W. Erie Ave., Lorain, will speak at the Friday, Aug. 2, Main Street Lorain Consortium breakfast meeting at Spectrum Vocational Center, 713 W. 5th St., Lorain. He will explain how CommStar provides local, individualized service that fill a niche to assist small investors who may otherwise not obtain financing. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 2 and breakfast is served at 8 a.m.  Cost of breakfast is $7. The program and announcements will follow the breakfast.

2019-07-17T02:49:45-04:00July 17th, 2019|News|

The Benefits of Revitalization and Community Visioning

There will be a community presentation July 2 at 6pm -8pm at Spectrum Training Center, 713 West 5th St. This is a public presentation by Heritage Ohio to show “ The Benefits of Revitalization and Community Visioning” This presentation is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.

Jim Long/ President

2019-06-26T10:51:04-04:00June 26th, 2019|News|

Lorain Growth Consortium Meeting

Main Street Lorain will not have a consortium breakfast meeting in July because of the Fourth of July weekend. The next breakfast meeting will be held Friday, Aug. 2, at Spectrum Vocational Center, 713 W. 5th Street. We will keep you posted on who will be speaking at our August meeting. Jim Long, president

2019-06-26T06:31:17-04:00June 26th, 2019|News|

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Workshop


June 19, 2019:
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Workshop
Learn how you can get financing for up to 100% of energy-efficient improvements for commercial properties.
Join us for this free event presented by the Lorain Port Authority and NOPEC. Learn how this unique low interest, fixed-rate financing opportunity can benefit businesses and your community. Discover how to identify projects that qualify and provide the largest return on investment.
Antlers Ballroom
300 Washington Ave.
Lorain, OH 44052
June 19, 2019
8:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Breakfast will be served before the event.
RSVP to this free event at www.lorainportauthority.com or call us at 440.204.2269
Lorain Port Authority
319 Black River Lane
2019-06-10T20:13:21-04:00June 10th, 2019|News|

Lorain Growth Consortium Meeting

The Friday, June 7, Main Street Lorain breakfast meeting featured the leaders of Spectrum Consulting Services LLC, Cheryl Weber and Christine Reed, who spook on the new gym being built by the school and the community possibilities made availabe as a result of building it. In addition they talked about upcoming entertainment events on Spectrum’s schedule for downtown Lorain.

The consortium breakfast meeting was at Spectrum Vocational Center, 713 W. 5th Street. Doors opened at 7:30 a.m. and we started serving breakfast at 8 a.m. Cost is $7. Main Street Lorain President mafe a report and announcements by attendees
2019-06-09T05:53:36-04:00May 31st, 2019|News|