Dadeville Performing Arts Center

Siri Hedreen / The Outlook

Board president Kim Walls (left), collaborator Bobby Hill and board member Mickey Tarpley pose beside the storefront they hope to convert into the Dadeville Performing Arts Center, located on Dadeville's courthouse square.

A new nonprofit is seeking to capitalize on the Lake Martin area's musical talent, turning Dadeville's courthouse square into an entertainment district.

With a fundraising drive through August, the 501(c)(3)-registered Dadeville Performing Arts Center hopes to secure the $250,000 needed to launch by October of this year.

"Our motto is 'building community through music,'" said board president Kim Walls, a former music education professor at Auburn University. "We want to involve all parts of the community and we're going to be reaching out to all types of musicians and people who want to learn music, and people who want to come listen to music."

For phase one of the project — Dadeville Performing Arts Center eventually seeks to relocate to larger, auditorium-sized space in phase two — that might include classes for seniors in the morning, school children in the afternoon and then jam sessions or professional performances by night. While arts of all kinds are welcome, music is the emphasis.

The main step between then and now, however, is the $170,000 purchase of the building the nonprofit has already identified facing the Tallapoosa County Courthouse. Women's clothing store Ellaby Boutique, its current occupant, will be moving next door.

"This building is in pretty good shape and our operating expenses shouldn't be that high, (from) what we've calculated," Walls said. "And we've got such a large membership already joining with us that I think we'll be in good shape."

As for the talent, the board and its supporters — primarily comprised of Lake Martin retirees — is confident will come easy. Board member Mickey Tarpley said he knows of several musicians who have settled down on the lake.

"People just do not realize what's sitting out there that has not been cultivated," he said.

By the same token, Dadeville Performing Arts Center does not expect much difficulty attracting touring professionals to their space.

"With all the people who've moved to the lake who are used to Atlanta and New York and all that, I think they're going to be expecting some high-power performances," Walls said. "And we'll certainly have classical music too."

The nonprofit has also seen support from other local arts groups, including visual arts collective Everything's Art and new film and theater nonprofit 3 Hilltops ACTs, which had its grand opening last week. 3 Hilltops ACTs founder Bobby Hill, who has theater background, expressed interest in sharing spaces.

As for the casual musicians — or those hoping to learn — Walls said she's received a lot of interest from locals willing to volunteer as teachers, with the potential for paid lessons space as well.

According to Walls, the market is proven.

"For example, I learned how to play the mountain dulcimer a couple years ago because there were these four other ladies that said 'we have these instruments, we don't know what to do' and I said well, let's go learn," she said, referring to the traditional Appalachian, zither-like instrument. "And before you knew it we had 30 senior citizens who had learned how to play the mountain dulcimer. So now we have the Lake Martin Dulcimer Club."

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