Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts
4734 South Campus Court
The dream was born in 1972 when Dan and Dorothy Gerber envisioned a civic center for use by the community. They gave the Fremont Area Community Foundation a significant gift of shares of Gerber Products Company stock to establish a Civic Center Fund. Under the investment management of the Foundation the fund grew to nearly $2 million. Many years passed and, for a variety of reasons, the dream never quite became reality.
In 1994 Scotti Merrill, the Gerber's daughter, and long-time family friend Ted Johnson, launched an effort to bring the center to life. They helped form the Arts Center for Newaygo County (ACNC), a non-profit organization dedicated to planning, building, and maintaining the Center.
During the ensuing years, ACNC received a $2 million grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation for the construction of the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts. An anonymous gift of $1 million was added to the fund. The generous people of Newaygo County (and beyond) gave $4 million in individual donations to complete the $7 million needed to construct the Center.
In 1999, ACNC and the Newaygo County Intermediate School District (NCISD) reached an agreement to build the Center on NCISD's campus, just east of Fremont, Michigan. The location is advantageous in terms of size, convenience, and future expansion possibilities. NCISD (now named Newaygo County Regional Education Service Agency NCRESA) is an important partner in educational programs for students in Newaygo County.
On May 25, 2000, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the occasion on which this dream became reality.
The opening of the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts in July 2002 was the fulfillment of a dream. But more than that, it will continue to inspire dreams in all of us