Bozeman raises $2 million to preserve Emerson Lawn

Courtesy: Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture.png

It was 25 years ago when the Bozeman community helped purchase the Emerson building, a former school on Grand Avenue. Now that the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture is coming up on their 25th anniversary, the community came together once again -- this time to help preserve the Emerson Lawn.

"We're saving a little bit of the heartbeat of Bozeman," Emerson’s executive director, Susan Denson-Guy, said.

Currently the lawn is the largest open space in downtown Bozeman that's not a park.

Accessible to all, it has served as a community gathering space during their Lunch on the Lawn series and sculpture garden.

After two-thirds of the lawn went up for sale, nearly 400 donors stepped up to the plate to keep the cultural center’s lawn from changing.

"We still have a little ways to go; we're hoping to close debt free on Friday, but really right now it's just an overwhelming sense of gratitude," said Denson-Guy.

Donors have contributed close to $2 million since February. With the price tag for the 0.8-acre space being $2,275,100, they’re now just short $287,000.

The cultural center is already looking ahead, and they have big plans for the lawn.

"We're looking at expanding what we do in the Emerson out to our lawn," said Denson-Guy. "We'll have concerts and films and hopefully some performances as well."

Also in the works is a food court and a showcase for local and international art.

"Preserving the lawn for everyone to continue to use the lawn is part of what we moved to Bozeman for," said Denson-Guy.

The Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture will begin their next Lunch on the Lawn series Wednesdays in July.

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