Ponca City Art Association votes to relocate; Soldani Mansion to be sold
Ponca City Now - July 12, 2019 9:18 am
The Ponca City Art Association held a special membership meeting Tuesday in the historic Soldani Mansion at 819 East Central, which has been the association’s permanent home since purchasing it for $42,000 in 1966.
The PCAA board voted in June to bring the decision to relocate the Art Association to the membership, citing more than a decade of concerns about ADA accessibility and other hazardous issues that are common to a historic home of that age and size.
“We had to completely shut down our pottery program last year due to mold in the basement, and we have elderly painters who have a very, very difficult time climbing the staircase to the classrooms and studio space” said Liz Leaming, PCAA Board President. “This isn’t a new issue. There have been discussions to relocate for over a decade, but the board has decided that the time is right. We want our art programs to be available and accessible to people of all ages and abilities.”
The meeting began with a heartfelt testimony from Kathrine Spena, a longtime PCAA supporter and artist. She, spoke from the perspective of the artists who rent studio space and paint at the mansion each week.
Spena’s mother, Shirley Petersen, a well known landscape artist, who is 90, struggles each week to climb the staircase.
“I know we all love the Soldani Mansion — we all do, but it isn’t meeting our needs any longer,” Spena said
Three more reports were given from board members. Chelsi Hendrickson, project manager for Rick Scott Construction, gave ADA accessibility information and said that any modifications to the mansion to make it 100 percent accessible would not only be extremely costly, but would likely destroy the historic aesthetic and integrity of the historic home.
Craig Poet, Treasurer of the PCAA, reported on the state of the finances. Poet said that while the PCAA is in a better financial condition now than it has been in the last five years, any large-scale home repair could be enough to bankrupt the PCAA.
Terron Liles spoke on potential relocation spaces that would meet the needs of the PCAA. Liles reported that while nothing has been decided, there are several great spaces available downtown in the Grand Arts District.
After all reports were given, the floor was opened up for questions, and then members voted unanimously to sell the mansion and relocate the PCAA.
While it has not yet been decided what real estate company will list the mansion, the plan is to sell the mansion. Anyone interested in purchasing the property should contact Liz Leaming, PCAA Board President at 580-716-2147.