Lost Pines_3Officials behind the planned Lost Pines Art Center are taking the term “green” seriously, when it comes to preserving and reusing materials at the historic site for the expansive facility. The center, at 1204 Chestnut St., will be the new home of the Bastrop Fine Arts Guild and will contain several “re purposed” buildings totaling 14,000 sq. ft. on its 1.25 acres.
The guild purchased the property for $400,000 from Clyde Clardy, who operated the Auto Shop there for years. Karol Rice, project director, said the cost to construct the center, opening in early 2017, will be an additional $3.5 million.  But first up is reusing materials already present. The site was originally used as a grainery – the Powell Cotton Seed Mill – in the late 1800’s; by the early 1900’s it was a lumberyard.
Lost Pines_2Rice said that workers will “peel the main building apart like an onion,” in order to save as much metal and pine infrastructure as possible for the new center.  “We made every effort to use the building in its current state to preserve the integrity of the historic nature of this property,” she said.
Deconstruction of the main building and preparing the grounds for new construction should occur by the end of this year.  The guild and its supporters held a “fence-raising” on Feb. 18 to get the three-phase project underway. Barley & Pfeiffer Architects of Austin (Alan Barley and Peter Pfeiffer) are the designers for the project.
The site will hold a main art gallery, classrooms, an outdoor sculpture garden and retain four current grain silos, one which will be for an artist-in-residence.  The grain silos will be remodeled so that artists can be observed by the public throwing pots, glazing and firing them, making glass, metal, stone and wood sculpture, as well as jewelry.
The money needed
Lost Pines_4Jeanette Condray is the guild’s finance director for the project.  She said $200,000 was originally generated for the project from a grant of $100,000 from the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation; another $100,000 was graciously donated by Houstonians Jay and Maxann Collins. They have an additional home in Bastrop which is the site of the annual Artful Afternoon fundraiser for the guild.
The city of Bastrop pledged $100,000 to the project in November 2012. Rice said $40,000 has already been received, “and $60,000 is to come” this year.  Grants totaling nearly $15,000 have also been received.  And the guild has also hired a professional grant writer, Karen Dale Wolman, who is in the process of applying for grants of between $200,000 to $500,000.
Additionally, the guild’s Capital Campaign Steering Committee will focus on major donors and grassroots events that will encourage broad participation throughout the region, Condray said.
See the guild’s website: bastropfineartsguild.com for information on donation levels.
Artful Afternoon
BFAOne of the biggest fundraising events for the guild’s new home will be the 8th Annual Artful Afternoon on Sunday, March 30, from3-6:30 p.m. at the Collins’ residence on Pecan Street. The event features a “garden party” in which guests dress up in period clothing, including elegant hats and participate in a fine art auction. Delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks will also accompany the live music.
By Terry Hagerty at Austin Community Newspaper