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Daily News Editorial

Estherville Art Center on the right track

February 3, 2010
Estherville News

A little over three years ago, Scott Griffith took it upon himself to try to save the Lincoln School. To put a little added purpose behind that goal, he tried to buy the Lincoln School as a home for the Estherville Art Center.

While the school was razed, Griffith's dream for Estherville Art Center never died.

A few months ago, Griffith turned that dream into a reality when he bought the old creamery building on South First Avenue. Located in what Griffith terms "the back yard of Fort Defiance", Griffith has indeed obtained a gem in the rough.

For starters, the building could probably stand several hundred years. The floors are 18 inches thick so they aren't going anywhere.

Another positive is that it's located just off what has been traditionally considered an "artsy-craftsy" location - South Sixth Street.

Being located in such an historical area is a benefit too. When you can claim the original location of Fort Defiance as your neighbor, that's worth something.

The most valuable thing, though, is Griffith's dream to create an art center for Estherville and Emmet County. The building - 15,000 square feet - is certainly big enough. Griffith figures about $300,000 and 20 years will bring his dreams to a reality.

The building is a lot like Griffith - well worn and chiseled. Then maybe that's what attracted him to the old creamery in the first place.

It's a really, really neat idea. Estherville needs a place for kids, seniors and entire families to go and enjoy the arts. Griffith's vision includes art classes plus a cultural center that will celebrate Estherville's heritage.

Griffith's dream fits well with many of Excel! Estherville's goals to grow diversity, tourism, the arts and new businesses. What a great place for artists to locate workshops and stalls to sell their wares.

Griffith and the Estherville Art Center have accomplished a lot. In addition to having a building, they have their 501c3 nonprofit status so they're ready to put the rubber to the road.

Anyone in Estherville who claims to give a hoot about the arts should get behind this project.

To learn more, go online to, call 712-209-1900 or write to 1416 470th Ave. Estherville, IA 51334.



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