Windhover Center for the Arts, formerly known as The Arts Center of Fond du Lac, held its Grand Opening on September 9, 2000 after completing a $2.2 million renovation.
It all got started in 1994, when a group of community leaders concluded that Fond du Lac needed an organization to support, stimulate and advocate for the arts. With the establishment of the Arts Council, Fond du Lac joined the more than forty other Wisconsin cities that have initiated and supported active community arts agencies.
In 1995 the Arts Council bought the former Masonic Temple at the northwest corner of Sheboygan and Marr Streets, a 90-year-old building, to use as a community arts center.
In 1996 the first full-time staff person was hired, and the Fond du Lac Arts Council began programming in earnest.
Fond du Lac Children's Chorale has been formed, children's workshops in the areas of visual arts, music, drama and dance have been held, as well as several youth art exhibits. In addition to children's activities, programs include a variety of adult classes, student and professional art exhibits, theatrical presentations and musical performances. The Searl Pickett Classical Music Series and Windhover Center's Signature Series have struck a chord with local audiences.
Foot of the Lake Poetry collective holds monthly readings, featuring acclaimed local and regional poets as well as an open mic for the novice.
Windhover Center for the Arts is home to the area's most unique public art galleries, including Great Hall Gallery, Cafe Gallery and Studio 51, exhibiting a wide variety of artists throughout the year.
Built in 1906, the building needed an updating of its infrastructure to current codes and safety standards. The renovation, totaling $2.2 million, was planned around maintaining and enhancing the distinctive character of the building. Needed improvements were to be unobtrusively integrated into the existing structure. This commitment to a sensitive restoration ensured the preservation of a singular downtown landmark.
The $500,000 donation by Harry and Betty Quadracci, through Quad/Graphics charitable branch, the Windhover Foundation was the largest single donation to the Fond du Lac Arts Council's Capital Campaign. The donation put the project over the top, and also gave the Quadracci's naming rights to the Arts Center. The Windhover, written by English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in the late 1800's, is a favorite poem of Harry Quadracci. It became the name of his company's charitable foundation, and in the year 2000, the new name for the Arts Center of Fond du Lac.
In September of 2012 it was revealed that the Windhover Center for the Arts would undergo a multi-million dollar expansion that will transform its facility into a major regional arts destination. Read more...