A crowd of more than 40 people gathered in the parking lot behind the Fallbrook Art Center to symbolically burn the center’s mortgage papers on July 14. The crowd continued celebrating the milestone with a reception inside the art center at Alvarado Street and Main Avenue.
Jerri Patchett, President of the Fallbrook Arts Inc. (FAI) Board of Directors, said in January that FAI’s goal for the year was to pay off the mortgage on the art center, which at that time was about $65,000. Patchett led the fundraising effort with a lot of community support.
According to a center spokesperson, the original mortgage on the Fallbrook Art Center building was secured from a local bank in the amount of $300,000 at 7.5 percent interest in 1996.
A group of 14 directors and loyal donors of Fallbrook Arts, Inc. (FAI) agreed March 30, 2011, that they would form a group and put up $300,000 to replace the bank loan with a new loan at 4.0 percent interest. No monthly payments were required until January 1, 2013.
As time went by, many of the investors started donating back to the Art Center some or all of their investment in the new loan. There were also many other loyal donors who had not invested in the original loan, but who made cash donations over the past six years to help pay off the loan.
The County of San Diego and Supervisor Bill Horn also gave two separate Neighborhood Reinvestment grants to the center. The most recent grant paid off the remaining balance of the loan. The Fallbrook Art Center is now free and clear of any debt.
In her remarks July 14, Patchett quoted Margaret Mead saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” She continued, “this small group of citizens has changed Fallbrook by not only paying off the Art Center mortgage, but by helping to insure arts and culture continues in our community in perpetuity.”
Patchett recognized two individuals who were each half of the two couples who spearheaded the original funding campaign, Helene Ross (along with her late husband Bill) and Vince Ross (with his late wife Joy). Many of the other contributors to the original down payment on the loan were present including, Steve and Colleen Aichle.
Patchett noted that the paid off mortgage means the board will be able to keep the center open. “Not having the monthly mortgage payment is huge,” she said.
Patchett credited the community with “knowing the importance of art and culture” in its monetary support of the center. Each of the 16 board members pays $2,000 a year just to serve on the board.
Besides supporting local artists by providing a location for their work to be viewed and sold, FAI is also a committed partner with the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, Ivy High School, the Migrant Education Program and the Boys and Girls Club of North County, providing ongoing support to the area’s low income and at-risk students and families.
Seven annual shows are exhibited at the art center. The Find: Magnified is open now, through Aug. 27, with free admission. The 20th annual Galaxy of Glass will run Sept. 10 through Oct. 22, and Art of the Holiday will be open Nov. 4 through Dec. 24.
For more information, visit http://fallbrookartcenter.org/.