COVID-19 silences Ashley for Arts, but can’t stop ‘Patron’ award to Pump House

Pump House Front

ARCADIA, Wis. (WKBT) — Even though COVID-19 forced cancellation of Ashley for the Arts this weekend, the festival refused to postpone its annual “Patron of the Arts” award, deeming The Pump House Regional Arts Center in La Crosse worthy of the honor.
The award, which recognizes an individual or organization who has demonstrated extraordinary support for the arts, usually is presented on the main stage on the Friday night of the music and arts fest.

Pump House

The Pump House features three galleries, with free admission. (Pump House photo)

The salute to the Pump House didn’t lose any enthusiasm, though, with Ashley event director Cole Bawek saying, “This is a wonderful organization, with a beautiful location, rich with history, and a strong mission to showcase the arts. Many visitors across the Coulee Region have been personally impacted through The Pump House’s efforts, and we look forward to many years to come of promoting the artistic flair of our region.”
The Pump House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1977 to enhance the quality of life in the Coulee Region as a cultural center, promoting a wide range of arts. The space showcases three art galleries, an arts studio with a kiln and a small theater.
The center uses theater, dance, music, visual art, storytelling and educational experiences to celebrate all cultures in the community. It hosts an annual festival, Artspire, which is an all-inclusive, free event.
Funds generated through Pump House ticket sales, memberships, classes and events help support its mission, provide free admission to galleries, tuition sponsorships and arts programs for all ages.
The Pump House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Historic Landmark for the city of La Crosse.
As the novel coronavirus pandemic brought events to a standstill, The Pump House joined with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, the La Crosse Community Theatre, the Weber Center for the Performing Arts and the La Crosse Chamber Chorale to develop “La Crosse Arts Online.”
That initiative features wide variety of art and cultural experiences online during this time of quarantine.
Pump House executive director Toni Asher said in accepting the award that it “is not only an honor but also a great encouragement. Thank you, and we will continue to bring inspiration and joy, in any way possible, through these difficult times and beyond.”

More information on The Pump House is available on its website.