A recent photo of the future home of Stairway to the Stars dance studio, located on Fifth Avenue near the home of parent organization Maywood Fine Arts. | Below: A diagram of the interior of the new dance studio. || Courtesy Maywood Fine Arts
There will be a window on the first floor that replicates the one in the old 19th Century building, located at 20 N. Fifth Avenue and that burned down in 2010. Windowed walls along the facility’s south and east sides will allow passersby and commuters an unfettered view of the activity inside. The bodies inside the building will be looking out to the village as the village looks in.
Those are just some of the features of Maywood Fine Arts’s new Stairway to the Stars dance studio, which is several months away from anchoring 14 to 18 N. Fifth Avenue, according to the nonprofit’s co-founder Lois Baumann.
Baumann said she anticipates the 9,000 square-foot, $1.5 million building to be completed by this August, just in time for MFA to celebrate a milestone. Next year will mark a half-century that Lois and her husband Ernie have been providing arts programming in Maywood.
And just in time for another wave of dancers to create new memories in a new space. Since the old Stairway to the Stars studio burned down six years ago, dance practices have taken place at First Congregational Church in Maywood, 400 N. Fifth Avenue.
“The building will be pretty open to Fifth Avenue,” Baumann said in a recent interview. “People who bring their kids will see children learning. We want it to be fun, friendly and safe environment for the community. Even at night, all the lights will be on so people can see the good things happening inside.”
Spooner Baumann, Baumann’s son and the nonprofit’s marketing coordinator, said the building’s first floor will comprise a large waiting room with roundtables that will make communicating easier. He said the interior classroom walls will also be encased in glass. The facility’s three large dance studios will line the outside of the building, adjacent the windowed walls and looking out onto the thoroughfare.
The new building’s side entrance, which is where participants will enter for programs, will face Main Street. The length of that entryway will be covered in a 9-foot awning.
Last year, MFA launched a capital campaign called Raising the Barre, which sought to generate around $1.8 million in funds to pay for the building’s construction, in addition to accumulating building reserve funds and paying down the remaining mortgage on the historic building the nonprofit owns at the corner of Fifth and Lake.
Lois said that existing building will house MFA’s other arts-related activities, such as its tumbling, visual arts, music and drama programs. The new studio will be strictly for dance.
“Every single day, we’re looking for ideas to raise money,” said Spooner, who noted that the Raising the Barre campaign is still around $500,000 away from its goal. The campaign received a major boost when an anonymous donor gave $1 million to the organization.
In the meantime, Spooner said, various people he called ambassadors of the capital campaign are brainstorming fundraising ideas.
“The children and families have collected over $12,000 in pennies and small change,” said Lois. “We welcome anybody’s small change collection. We call it small change for big change.”
Last month, Maywood Firefighters held a boot drive that yielded around $3,600 for the organization’s building fund. The Baumanns said anyone else who wants to donate can visit the organization’s website (click here) and Facebook page (here). Interested donors could also write, and mail, checks to Maywood Fine Arts.
“Something wonderful is happening in Maywood,” said Lois. “We’re building something new and it will affect the entire community; not just the dancers and their families, but everyone. The whole town is excited about this new space. It’s a new dancing studio! What can be more charming than that?” VFP
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