(Seguin) -- After a long search, the Seguin Art League has finally landed a new home. With the downtown building essentially a blank canvass, who better than a group of artists to help revitalize the former Mandell Building at 104 S. Austin St. The two story building once housed, the Mendlowitz Brothers, a family owned mercantile and the Klein Opera House.
Robin Walker, the president of the Seguin Art League, says after years of looking for a permanent location for the non-profit organization, the Mandell Family of Houston graciously made it possible for the Seguin Art League to purchase the building.
"Gratefully, I didn't give up and rightfully, the art league was supported and we have some incredible donors. I'm talking about -- we paid for this building and closed on it two weeks ago and I just can't get over. It kind of has it's own energy at this point. People are so excited about the fact that the ugly old building in downtown Seguin is finally, finally going to be cleaned up and restored to what it should be which was the Klein Opera House and of course, it's going to be the Seguin Art League," said Walker.
Walker says though the project is a huge undertaking, the organization is excited to start renovations and repairs.
"It became just a storage facility and when you go up into that old opera house and you look at the ceiling and just how beautiful it is, you can't help but want to restore the building and that's what happened to us. We just went ‘ok this could work,’ but we only had so much money and we only had an opportunity to -- the people that we were hitting up for donations were our members. So it was our members that came up with the money to actually make the purchase," said Walker.
Up until now, the art league did not have a space of its own. It's been at least two years since the group last rented space next door to the Cranny on North River Street.
Walker says the Seguin Art League committees will be busy during the next few months creating a master plan for not only improving the building but also for raising money. She says in the end, it's a wonderful investment for not only the group but for all of Seguin and Guadalupe County.
"Basically in our minds, we want it to be a center for the arts for Seguin to encompass not just art, but music as well and we would like very much for it to be a center point for culture in Seguin. We want to be able to say ‘we helped Main Street.’ We're going to do everything we can to make it a beautiful silk purse out of really bad pigs ear," said Walker.
Walker says the SAL has worked closely with Main Street Director Kyle Kramm and former director Mary Jo Langford in identifying possible locations for the art league.
"We are thrilled that at last this downtown property will be given a chance to serve our city and the surrounding communities. The Seguin Art League is the perfect fit for helping to bring art lovers to downtown Seguin." said Langford.
Kramm added that "The city of Seguin and the Main Street program are excited for this announcement. The addition of the Seguin Art League downtown will insure that the heart of our community will serve as a cultural center and a destination worth visiting. "
The community is invited to follow the group's progress and participate in fundraising efforts by visiting www.seguinartleague.com