As the flood waters continue to go down in western Iowa, there’s another sign of the recovery from the 2008 flooding in eastern Iowa. The Czech Village arts center in Cedar Rapids is holding a grand re-opening concert this weekend. It took 16 months to get the center ready to go again.
A state I-JOBS grant is helping pay five million of the seven million-dollar renovation cost, and some creative fundraising is helping with the rest. Producing director, Mel Andriga, says they are selling the naming rights for the toilet stalls, urinals and commodes.
“I guess I’d say that at its best, fundraising is difficult. And to try to the come up with something that’s unique, for people to put a handle on, so to speak, is difficult. And we didn’t want to do what everybody else does,” Andriga explains. For $1,000, they’ll put the name of the person you designate on a plaque over the urinal or toilet stall.
Once known as the Czecho-Slovak Protective Society, it’s now called the C-S-P-S and Adriga says it isn’t just for artists, but includes an area for all creative types.
“It’s important for them to have a place, a meeting place and a centralized location. They have studio space and they have small business space, but they need kind of common space. And C-S-P-S for 120 years has been that kind of space,” he says. The renovated building now includes a studio theater, new gallery and exhibition area, and office space for several non-profit arts organizations.