LCRA awards $20,004 grant for upgrades to Brownwood Art Center
New heating/cooling systems will make gallery more comfortable, help preserve center’s permanent collection
Nov. 9, 2022
BROWNWOOD, Texas – A $20,004 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will help the Brownwood Art Center upgrade its heating and cooling systems, making the center’s gallery and classrooms more comfortable while also better protecting the center’s art collections.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant will be paired with $5,001 in matching funds from the non-profit Brownwood Art Association, which operates the art center. The funds will replace two faltering HVAC units with new high-efficiency models and upgrade three other units.
“We have been wanting to do this for quite a while,” said Cary Perrin, treasurer of the Brownwood Art Association. “Our current HVAC units are old and not efficient for our space and the growing number of people using the art gallery and the art center. When we got the grant, it made my head explode. ‘Oh, we got it. We’re going to have climate control.’”
Located downtown in a renovated building with a display gallery that has a 25-foot-high ceiling, the Brownwood Art Center has monthly exhibits featuring works from local artists and offers classes and workshops for people of all ages and skill levels. The center also houses a permanent collection that will benefit from the new climate-controlled environment.
“We have our permanent collection in the attic, but it’s not insulated, and we want to bring the collection into a climate-controlled area,” Perrin said. “This includes works from our original members, meaning we have some old, beautiful art that’s just deteriorating. We want to make sure that it’s taken care of out of respect for the artists, for the history of our art and for the family members of those artists.”
Perrin said the center has groups dedicated to portrait painting, photography, and fabric and textile arts. Children’s art camps are held in the summer, and the center wants to expand its offerings, possibly by adding classes in ceramics and mixed media.
“As we’re trying to expand, we want the environment to be friendly and comfortable for people,” said Perrin, a fabric artist. “We hope that will encourage more people to join our association.”
The improvements to the center should result in lower utility bills and possibly increased income from rentals for events such as wedding receptions or gatherings of business or civic groups.
Taken together, those outcomes will help the Brownwood Art Association carry out its mission of enriching the community by offering activities and education related to the arts.
“We’re trying to open up what art is for people,” Perrin said. “We’re really trying to get people to say, ‘What is art to you? What is creativity to you? Can you share it?’ We’re trying to be a growing part of the community.”
The community grant is one of 46 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit lcra.org.