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New Oregon foundation acquires Taft dioramas

By Vinde Wells

vwells@oglecountynews.com

A recently formed foundation has acquired three dioramas created by sculptor Lorado Taft.

According to a press release from the Coliseum Museum of Art, Antiques, and Americana Foundation, the group recently purchased the dioramas from the Superior Public Library, Superior, Wisconsin.

One of them will be on display in conjunction with an art exhibit beginning Friday, Jan. 18 at the Cork & Tap Gallery, 305 W. Washington St., Oregon.

CMAAA was formed to explore a new concept and renewed life for the Oregon Coliseum.

“We see it as an untapped asset to the community,” said CMAAA President Tom Mahoney, who is also Oregon School Superintendent. “It’s a concept that could enhance the community.”

The foundation includes representatives from nine governmental, not-for-profit organizations and community leaders from Oregon who hope to create a multi-purpose cultural center, museum, recording studio, and tourist destination at the Coliseum.

Mahoney said the foundation planned to hold its first organizational meeting on Jan. 9.

“CMAAA’s vision is to create a facility to host exhibitions from artists representing all genres of the art world; a museum retail store; display loaned and gifted collections from local and outside sources; accommodate meetings, guest speakers, social events; establish a recording studio for educational and business use; the potential is endless,” the press release read.

Mahoney said the purchase of the Taft dioramas was finalized last July. They were paid for by a local private foundation, he said, with the understanding that CMAAA will reimburse the cost “if it gets off the ground.”

On display Jan. 18 along with the diorama, will be drawings of how CMAAA envisions the space at the Coliseum might be used.

Mahoney said the exhibit at Cork & Tap will be open for three weeks during regular business hours.

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