What’s The Deal On The Port Polson Players And The Mission Valley Friends Of The Arts?
Built in 1938, the Polson city-owned Theatre on the Lake has been renovated and is maintained by the non-profit Mission Valley Friends of the Arts (MVFA). Under a twenty-year lease with the city of Polson (which runs through 2040), the MVFA has an agreement with the Port Polson Players to serve as caretakers for the facility. Neal and Karen Lewing, Managing and Artistic Directors for the Players, also serve as secretarial and administrative directors for the MVFA. All fundraising drives for MVFA, follow up, publicity, building maintenance, contracted renovation, grant assistance, accountability, and facilitation are conducted by the Lewings on behalf of “The Friends.” MVFA doesn’t pay them for these services; they trade use of the facility to produce theatre.
The Players three-part program provides students (K-12) with theatre opportunity through Polson School District #23 and an annual Kids Performance Camp. A Community Theatre program brings valley-wide performers of all ages together in three to four productions a year. Lastly, the Summer Theatre pairs the best Mission Valley talent with Montana theatre professionals, which the Lewings hire for the local tourist season. All of this happens at The Beautiful Log Theatre On The Lake.
MVFA money goes into the building; Box Office receipts go toward producing the actual shows. Your tax-deductible contribution provides a space so the Port Polson Players can provide the Plays. This synergetic system has made an effective, ANNUAL performing arts program. The Players are the fifth oldest, year-round theatre company in the state and both Lewings received The 2016 Montana Governor’s Award for the Arts.
What Have MVFA Contributions Made Possible?
To date, through MVFA Membership money, TIIP, Travel Montana, Polson Community Foundation Grants, a sizable anonymous gift, and over four decades of sponsorships from Polson’s First Citizens Bank, Glacier Bank, First Interstate Bank, and Super 1 Foods, MVFA has put nearly $250,000 into the beautiful 80-year-old Log Theatre on the Lake. MVFA renovation history includes contracting cement stairs and iron railings on two sides of the building; a cement slab outside the front door entrance; two cement terraces on the lake side of the structure; a theatre handicap access road from the parking lot to the main building; outside benches; kitchen upgrades; carpeting; two upstairs, plumbed bathrooms; a ten-phase electrical upgrade; a security system; landscaping; signage; a state of the art heating and air conditioning system; re-chinking; painting and staining; stucco repair; new energy-efficient doors and windows; a new roof; the recent overhaul of the golf course seed shed; and the complete removal and upgrade of the building’s outdoor west wall. The Mission Valley Friends of the Arts also arranged for the removal of the old furnace boiler and its underground oil tank. MVFA hired an abatement company to rid the building of asbestos insulation from the downstairs boiler room. Finally, landscaping and gardens around the theatre and former golf course seed shed (now the theatre scene shop) have been kept in pristine condition the entire time the building has served the Mission Valley as a theatre.
Seed Shed To Scene Shop
According to MVFA President Carmine Mowbray, “It was a long time in the planning, but thanks to Hu Beaver Builder, Inc., the renovation of the theatre scene shop has finally been achieved.” Mowbray and Vice President Chris Strom, along with MVFA Board of Directors Chuck Jarecki, Kathy Kuberka, and Suz Rittenhouse, worked hard to provide extensive renovations to the former golf course seed shed. In addition, the team hired Whealon Construction to replace the broken and sagging stone wall on the west side of the building. All of these 2018 projects were accomplished before cool weather set in.
What Benefits Do MVFA Contributors Recieve?
Contributions to MVFA are tax-deductible as the organization has a 501(c)(3) status. Donations can be made in any of seven different categories, ranging from $10 Sailor to $1000-and-above Admiral as well as memorials. Members receive a membership card good for $1.00 off all regularly-scheduled Port Polson Players performances, a listing in all performance programs, and the annual newsletter Footnotes from the Footlights.
Donations can be made by mail to MVFA, PO Box 1156, Polson MT 59860. A receipt will then be mailed for tax purposes. And, with inclusion of their e-mail address, MVFA members are now a mouse-click away from up-to-the-minute event announcements.