The mission of the Elmwood Cultural Arts & Learning Center is to serve as cultural arts and learning center for Elmwood while providing long-term preservation of the community’s historical artifacts with special emphasis on the life and works of Bess Streeter Aldrich and the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Hall Veterans Museum. 

From Vision to Reality

February 2020

This project started as discussions on ways to ensure the long-term future of both the Bess Streeter Aldrich Foundation and the Elmwood G.A.R. Hall Veterans Museum. Of major concern was the future of both organizations – what/who will sustain these historical places in our community?  The Veterans Museum did not have adequate space to rotate exhibits. We also recognized that there was no space dedicated to strictly Elmwood history or local genealogy research. Neither organization had space to dedicate for these purposes.

August 2020

A conversation with architect Rick Hawks about the possible construction of a new building ultimately resulted in a suggestion to look at the Prairie Solutions Technology building,  which was then purchased in August 2020. The Village of Elmwood Board voted unanimously to be our anchor tenant and will maintain the building common areas and grounds, including mowing and snow removal. Their “rent” is payment of the building’s utilities as well as $150 per month. They began occupancy on September 1, 2020.

October 2020

Nine community members stepped forward to form a Board of Directors to direct creation and administration of the Elmwood Cultural Arts & Learning Center.

The Center officially opens at 221 S. 4th Street in Elmwood and Phase I begins with the goal of paying off the mortgage. Proceeds from rent of two additional office spaces will help with the goal.

Crews started construction of an ADA accessible ramp and parking lot improvements.

March 2021

The board meets with architect Rick Hawks, sharing with him ideas and thoughts on what they envision for the Learning Center design.

December 2021

The Elmwood Community Foundation is established as an Affiliated Fund of the Midlands Community Foundation. The Foundation was formed by Elmwood community leaders and caring citizens to support activities which provide civic, culture, education, health, and human services improvements for the community of Elmwood and the surrounding area.  

June 2022

Thanks to a grant from the Midland Community Foundation and a very generous gift from Keith Swarts and Jayme Nekuda, both heating and air conditioning are installed in the Elmwood Cultural Arts and Learning Center.  

Progress! 2023 to now.

Exciting times as we move one step closer to the creation of the Elmwood Cultural Arts & Learning Center! “So what exactly is happening?” you ask. Well, here’s a sneak peek. “Like” our page to stay up to date on the latest news.


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Our memorial/recognition brick wall is growing! Have you ordered a brick to remember or celebrate someone special in your life?

Commemorative Bricks

Bricks are customized by you to honor or remember a loved one, commemorate a special occasion, etc., while it permanently recognizes your donation to the Learning Center.

Upcoming Classes, Events, or Workshops

August 2024
September 2024
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