WEDC grant supports Onalaska Performing Arts Center - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

WEDC grant supports Onalaska Performing Arts Center

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Onalaska, WI (WXOW) - -

Misty's Dance Unlimited provides opportunities for people of all ages and abilities in the La Crosse area and with some help from the WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation), they will expand their work.

On Monday, the City of Onalaska received a $240,000 grant to support their new downtown performing arts center, across the street from the current Misty's Dance Unlimited.

The facility will be the new home of Misty's as well as a cultural resource for the entire community.

The development aims to provide Onalaska with more than just a new dance studio.

"It really is not just about the dance training, it's about the benefits that come from participating in the arts," Misty Lown of Misty's Dance Unlimited describes.

That drive to provide a space for all types of art is ingrained in Lown's students, driving them to learn various skills.

"It has taught me so much more than technical skills. Our motto here is "More than just great dancing," and that really is the case. I've learned self-discipline, confidence, and I've been able to go out into my life outside of the studio and speak on numerous occasions and it is with the confidence from dance that I am able to do so," 15-year student at Misty's Dance Unlimited Annie Skogen says.

Their motto, "More than just great dancing," is one reason WEDC provides their assistance.

"We are there for things that might not otherwise happen or might need that boost that are not only going to benefit that individual business but really the community as a whole," WEDC Regional Economic Development Director Jenny Kuderer elaborates.

The project utilizes WEDC's community development investment grant which only covers a portion of the development.

"The project is required to have every other funding pieces largely in place. So that is coming from a combination of funds, equity from the owners and the investors in the project, as well as bank financing," Kuderer concludes.

To help arrange those funding pieces Lown surrounds herself with people from around the community to help make the project happen.

"It's getting all of those players to the table, and getting the best advice possible to make a project like this really come to fruition," Lown says.

The advice Lown receives helps her to continue impacting students like Annie Skogen.

"The opportunity for more people to experience the same things that I did through Misty's Dance Unlimited is really exciting," explains Skogen.

The project will help Lown to extend the lessons she teaches to as many people as possible, lessons that will benefit students past dance.

"Kids learn to get up when they fall down, they learn to finish what they start, and they have the confidence to carry them through long after their dancing is done," Lown finishes.

Lown says she most looks forward to students writing messages underneath the floorboards in the new facility that will last throughout the center's time in Onalaska.

The performing art center is estimated to be a $3 million dollar project in total and will be open to the public in June of this year.

MORE: Previous Misty's Dance Unlimited Coverage

Misty's Dance Unlimited

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