Livingston Arts Council
The Livingston Arts Council was founded in 1995 to encourage the development and support of the arts in Livingston County. This grass roots organization embarked on a mission to improve the quality of life in Livingston County through appreciation of the arts.
The LAC Board shared a vision to create an arts and cultural center that would further their mission. In 2000, a capital campaign was launched headed by local real estate professional Jeff Stamm and the organization was able to purchase the 1881 Howell Opera House. Many structural and foundation repairs were necessary and were quickly addressed.
The organization also purchased the adjacent commercial building (then known as the Garland Building) to ensure the new art center would have the capacity to meet building codes and accommodate the requirements of a future performing arts center.
In 2006, The Livingston Arts Council and the Howell Area Arts Council, another local arts organization, merged to strengthen the mission and goals both shared. This partnership increased much needed support, membership, and programming. The Howell Area Arts Council brought two vital programs under the Livingston Arts Council umbrella – Concerts at the Courthouse and Got Art. Both programs now in their 16th year, have since grown considerably in size and popularity in the community. In May 2007, a Masterplan for the Opera House Complex was completed and the first floor was renovated with funding from Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, HUD, fundraising and an additional mortgage from First National Bank.
In 2012 the LAC, with the support of First National Bank, Music Doing Good of Houston Texas, and the Von Voightlander Foundation began a fundraising drive to pay off the existing $627,000 mortgage. In only four months, the overwhelming community support helped raise enough funds to lower the mortgage on the two buildings to just over $60,000. This reduced mortgage was completely paid off in 2015. The stage is now set for the next big push to open the second floor.
The first floor is now used for LAC programming such as Acoustic Café, Got Art, and Pop Up Bistro. It also serves as a rental space for public art shows and exhibits, weddings, showers, plays, concerts, fundraising events, and other community activities.