Part Seven: Still a Work in Progress

Submitted by srac_drupadmin on Sun, 02/12/2017 - 11:51

As of 2013, The Creamery is the vibrant center of the Springfield arts scene. Integrated into the landscape of Jordan Valley Park, it is well positioned at the heart of the city. Just up the hill is a children’s playground, funded by a generous donation from the Springfield Rotary Club (Southeast), that features climbing sculptures, a replica of a 19th Century Springfield wagon, and Russ RuBert’s wildly popular, hands-on sculpture, the 25-ft.-tall K-Man (for Kinetic Man). Across the street is Hammons Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals AA minor-leagure team, the Springfield Cardinals. One block away is the Springfield Expo Center and the Mediacom Ice Park; two blocks away is the Discovery Center, the city’s science museum for children.

The Creamery helped transform Springfield—and the city’s arts scene. The effort required to envision, acquire, fund and transform the old building into its new incarnation also had an invigorating effect on the SRAC, as well as on the individual arts groups that use the building. Today the SRAC is a larger, more dynamic and more effective leader of the City’s arts efforts, while the ballet, theater and symphony companies that share the building are also growing and prospering.

The Thomas W. Finnie board room is an up-to-date meeting space as of 2015, with wooden beams rescued from the building's past supporting the ceiling.
The Thomas W. Finnie board room is an up-to-date meeting space as of 2015, with wooden beams rescued from the building's past supporting the ceiling.

Indeed, The Creamery has become so successful that a round of renovations in 2013-14 was ordered up, courtesy of funds authorized by the Springfield City Council, to address some ongoing infrastructure problems and remove outmoded ramps to facilitate accessibility. More major renovations are in store, as a new entry area will be built on the east side of the building, to facilitate the flow into and out of the building.

As former SRAC Executive Director Leah Hamilton put it: “This building is what the arts in Springfield needed to grow.” The Creamery, it appears, is a living, breathing entity that will continue to change and expand in tandem with the City of Springfield—a Cinderella whose transformation will never quite be complete.