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Liberty Center (Lona Theater) - Sedalia, Mo.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 38° 42.409 W 093° 13.728
15S E 480106 N 4284267
Quick Description: This two-story plus yellow brick building is located at 111 West Fifth in Sedalia, Mo.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 8/8/2013 8:04:50 PM
Waymark Code: WMHREJ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 1

Long Description:
From the Liberty Center website:
(visit link)

"The Liberty Center Association for the Arts, Inc. was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1999. It resulted from the consolidation of the Sedalia Area Council for the Arts, Inc., Liberty Center, Inc. and the Sedalia Community Theatre, Inc. in an effort to promote the arts more effectively.

In 1978, a group of interested thespians organized the Sedalia Community Theatre for the purpose of promoting the performing arts. While enjoying success with production,, there was no regular venue for performances. In 1980, Beatrice foods ceased operation in Sedalia. The old Lona Theatre, renamed the Liberty Theatre, which had been converted into a cold storage plant and offices,, was no longer of use to Beatrice Foods. The building was donated to the Sedalia Community Theatre and regained its former name, the Liberty Theatre.

Through the efforts of Ginger Swearingen, Neal Reyburn and Jim Giokaris, a community fund raising drive was conducted to raise over $225,000. Local architect and builder, Neal Reyburn, restored the building to its original purpose, a theater. In 1983, the first Gala was held in the yet-to-be finished Liberty Center. SCT now had a home to call its own.

Attempting to manage the theatrical productions and operate a center proved to be more than a handful of volunteers could handle. Liberty Center, Inc. was thus established to operate the Center. Needing to keep the Center open on a daily basis, Liberty Center, Inc. formed a partnership with the Sedalia Area Council for the Arts, Inc. to hire an executive director. This director managed the facility and coordinated the work of SACA, Inc.

SACA, Inc. was established in 1980 to be a coordinator of the arts organizations in Sedalia and to act as a liaison with the Missouri Arts Council, writing grants and distributing funds for SCT and other local arts organizations. In an effort to widen the Liberty Center's mission from being just a facility to becoming a center for the arts, SACA and Liberty Center, Inc. began discussions to explore a possible merger. Meanwhile, SCT, having put its own funds into theatrical improvements to the theatre but having no control over their use, proposed a merger with Liberty Center, Inc. All three organizations were vying for the same operational dollars to keep their organizations afloat, often to the confusion of their contributors.

Thus, in 1997 representatives of SCT, LC and SACA began discussions concerning a consolidation of all three. The primary consideration for such a move hinged on 1) presenting a unified mission for community arts 2) developing a unified approach to fund raising, and 3)O centralizing arts activities in a common venue. A vote of each organization approved the consolidation move, approved the By-Laws, and filed incorporation papers with the State of Missouri in June 1999. The initial fifteen member Board of Directors was comprised of five persons from each of the parent organizations.

Still in its infancy, the LCAA continually strives to tweak its modus operandi to present creative programs of integrity and responsibility to its patrons. It is a work in progress — constantly changing to meet the artistic need of its patrons and the community."

From the National Register application:
(visit link)

"New Lona Theater, (Liberty Theater), 1920, Classical Revival. Rectangular plan, two plus stories, limestone foundation with a foliated guilloche watertable, yellow brick, terra cotta trim.

The sidewalk in front of this building was redone in concrete and swirled brick patterns in contrasting brick colors. This building has three bays with the east and west end bays in rusticated brick with center poster display boxes with 1-light transoms above, all framed in a terra cotta surround. The center bay has five round arch entries with 1-Iight double doors with round arch fanlights above decorative transom bars. Double rowlock round arches with exaggerated keys spring from foliated impost blocks, A projecting stringcourse in a decorative wave pattern is above the entryways and extends over the end bays. The center bay and stringcourse are painted in a contrasting cream color. The second story end bays have paired 8-light casements with ornate terra cotta surrounds over blind balustrades; the frieze above the surround is inscribed "AMVSEMENT" (east) and "EDVCAT10N" (west) in contrasting blue letters. Above each of these is a pediment with dentils. The center bay is slightly recessed with five paired 8-light casements with round arch fanlights above transom bars with dentils. The rowlock round arch with small foliated key springs from small foliated terra cotta impost blocks; blind balustrades are in the spandrel area. The sills of all the window groups are connected by a terra cotta stringcourse that is the top rail of the balustrades. The center bay is divided by brick Ionic pilasters set on terra cotta bases on top of pedestals set between the blind balustrades. A stringcourse connects the upper portions of the pilasters; alternating rosettes and lion-faced patera are above the stringcourse. The pilasters support a recessed terra cotta three-part architrave. A full entablature is across the building with a molded architrave, frieze with "LONA THEATER" inscribed in contrasting blue letters and swags over the end bays, and a projecting cornice with dentils. The attic story has three louvered openings framed by a header brick course that is above the cornice and runs over the openings; a second header brick course is below the short parapet with its terra cotta cornice and coping. On the east side of the theater is a 2-story brick hyphen that connects the theater with 500 S. Ohio; it has a single 6/6 sash on the second story. The west elevation faces onto the landscaped Rotary Park and is finished in 6-course common bond red brick; the yellow facade brick turns the corner and becomes "quoins" into the red brick. This elevation has five bays divided by brick piers with a pedestrian door to the north and a bricked in opening in the second bay. The third and fourth bays have a one-story covered metal shed attached to the theater and supported on metal posts; emergency exits and stairs are under the roof which also has a brick wall/stage below the roof area. The south end bay has a pedestrian door; this bay is wider, with back stage fly space to the south. This building is attached to 500 S. Ohio and next to a park,"
Theater Name: Liberty Center (Lona Theater)

Country: USA

111 West Fifth
Sedalia, Mo. USA

Web Site: [Web Link]

Venue: Community Theater

Type of Productions:
This is a multi use facility that puts on several performances a year, along with teaching acting classes, art classes, and an art gallery.

Restored Building: yes

Date of Construction: 1/1/1920

Architect/Designer: unknown

Stage Type: Proscenium

Seating Capacity: 320

Special Productions/Events/Festivals:
Junior Theatre Gallery shows - 9 each year 3 Sedalia Community Theatre performances Black History Month ARTSTALK-Quarterly newsletter Creative writing classes for seniors First Saturday - youth arts program first Saturday of each month Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts

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