October 22, 2021

A jumpstart for art

Former Crestonians announce $125,000 in gifts toward Creston:Arts’ new art center

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Although they have moved away from Creston, Karl and Jan Knock have a deep love for the community that they used to call home.

“One of our favorite topics is what’s going on with Creston:Arts,” Karl Knock said. “We’re very much in admiration of the nucleus that has developed and excited for how you all are making Creston an even better place.”

To that end, the Knocks announced that, on top of the gift of the Huff Bakery building and $50,000 to Creston:Arts that Iowa State Savings Bank — with the Knocks as principal shareholders — donated last year, they are personally donating $25,000 to the fundraising effort and setting up a $100,000 match grant for any donations between now and September.

“We have established the Knock Family Charitable Fund and today we want to announce a $25,000 gift from our charitable fund to Creston:Arts for this project,” Karl Knock said

The additional $100,000 matching grant will apply to donations of $25 dollars or more and will be donated as each $10,000 is raised. Donors have until Sept. 18, 2020, to make pledges and March 1, 2021, to fulfill those pledges in order for the matching grant to apply.

Brian Zachary, vice president of Creston:Arts, said all donors will be memorialized on a tree that will be painted on the wall in the center. Smaller donations will be depicted as leaves, while more substantial donors will be represented as the roots of the tree.

Karl Knock spoke of the generational history of the building.

“This building has been special to young people in Creston since the mid-1950s at least,” he said.

He listed the White Way Dairy in the 1950s where he and other young people would gather for milkshakes after school, the Huff Bakery up until the1980s where he and fellow paper carriers could grab a doughnut before their morning and afternoon paper routes, and the collaboration with Creston Community High School arts program to cover the windows with art.

“Having a space for the arts is so important,” Jan Knock said. “It becomes a space where people of all ages and all ability levels can find a home here ... We were really hoping to find a repurpose for this building which has meaning to a lot of people in the community. This is a use that will be one the whole community can share.”

She said one of their goals is to provide a place that she would have liked to have for their children as they grew up in Creston.

“It would have been great for them growing up where they could have been connect to other artists to be inspired,” she said.

Both Jan and Karl Knock spoke of the “third place” theory that stresses the importance of a place other than home or work/school where members of a community can relax and socialize.

“It’s more than just doing art; it’s also making connections with people and having that social time,” Jan Knock said.