111 West Fifth Street • Sedalia, MO 65301
Liberty Center Association
for the Arts, Inc.
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.