Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center Reimagines the Future

Sponsoring an Art Hop for several years, Syd Bastos and Lisa Beams will be stepping down from day to day work at the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center. They have been very influential in creating events and fundraising during their three-year involvement which first began at 200 S. Main Street.

See what a little independence can do: A new home, new faces, new programming for the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center. Previously a project under the Village of Vicksburg and its Downtown Development Authority, the center was designated as a 501c3 non-profit organization in November. On Jan. 1, it entirely separated from the Village and Authority.

This change has spurred a tremendous amount of activity for the three-year-old cultural arts organization. Chief among the changes is a new location at 105 S. Main Street in downtown Vicksburg previously occupied by Coco’s Gallery. Frederick Main Street Properties, LLC, is in the process of preparing the space and occupation is expected in April. The new Cultural Arts Center will accommodate exhibits, classroom space and room for live performances. “The new space will provide a great backdrop for both visual and performing arts,” said Rex Cummings, board treasurer.

On the staffing front, Syd Bastos has resigned as executive director and was appointed by the board as board president. She’ll stay on as acting director until a new director is in place. “At this point in the organization’s life cycle, it’s time for a new director with a different set of skills” she explained.

Lisa Beams has also left her role as gallery manager. She won’t be far away, staying on to chair the South County Fiber Arts program. It’s been in existence for two years, but is newly minted as a program of the VCAC. She will also teach classes in fiber arts and pottery for the VCAC. In February, Kelly Bergland and Deb Christiansen, both very active in the Schoolcraft community, joined the Board of Directors. These ladies bring a special set of skills and an abundance of enthusiasm to the organization.

On the education front, four classes designed for adults will be offered this spring: Knit Fix, Spring Flower Arranging, Basket Weaving, and Mosaic Design. An Arts Exploration Lab for Teens, held March 28, will help identify what teens are looking for as they grow into fledgling artists. “Although the Vicksburg Community Schools has great arts programming, teens are looking for opportunities to experience all forms of art, either not available in the schools or to concentrate more deeply on a particular subject,” explained Jake Munson, VCAC Board member.

One of the outcomes of the Exploration Lab will be a week-long Arts Day Camp for teens, designed by teens, adding to the Arts in the Burg camp for 8-12 year old students. The VCAC has also joined South County Community Services’ Wednesday Winners, a program for adults with disabilities, to provide arts experiences. Nancy Smith, a retired arts educator and experienced artist, has participated and says, “It has been my pleasure to present two lessons to my new friends at Wednesday Winners. Their enthusiasm for art is contagious and I can’t wait to create with them again.”

For more information on the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center, check out their website at, follow them on Facebook, email them at or call (269) 200-2223.

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