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Arts Center gets $25,000 for improvements

As of next week, the Hansen Stage at the Arts Center will have all the bells and whistles modern technology can offer, thanks to a $25,000 gift from Charlotte Hansen for a new sound system, lighting options and a wireless camera.

“It’s always been part of the plan, but you do things as you can afford to do them,” said Taylor Barnes, director of the Arts Center. “And one thing that’s been an advantage — the technology has changed. We’ve gotten an appreciably better return for the investment.”

The new gear includes colored LED lighting and six spotlights for the stage, as well as three stage microphones and four handheld wireless microphones — with speakers and a wireless sound system that can be controlled with an iPad.

“It’s a huge upgrade,” said Angela Martini, advertising and public relations specialist for the Arts Center.

The new equipment also includes an overhead projector with a dropdown screen and a wireless video camera that will allow performances to either be shown live online or recorded so that people who aren’t able to reach the Arts Center can still participate.

“I think there’ll be some interest,” said Tim Burchill, CEO of Ave Maria Village. “ … this will be a nice addition to what we’re already doing to bring the arts to the elders in our facility.”

Barnes said Charlotte Hansen realized the benefits the arts have for the community and community development.

“With this gift, we’re really going to be able to reach a lot more people in the community,” Barnes said.

A curtain has also been installed for the Hansen Stage, paid for by Jen Eckman and Adam Kilzer.

“It’s a huge upgrade,” Martini said of all the improvements.

Bands will be able to plug directly into the sound system rather than setting up portable equipment. The Arts Center will be able to reach populations of people who might not be able to attend performances, such as people at the Anne Carlsen Center or local nursing homes.

“For social gatherings, projectors and sound will help with a lot of those professional presentations,” Martini said.

All the equipment has been installed except for the light board, which will control the lighting, she added. That piece is expected next week.

The first test run of the equipment was Thursday’s classic movie night, and the first major test of all the components will be the upcoming performance of “Relative Values,” a Noel Coward play set for March 27, 28 and 29.

“I’m excited,” Martini said, noting there had been some complaints in the past by people who couldn’t hear performances from the back of the room. “This really solves all those problems and takes our productions up a notch.”

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at