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The Ohnward Fine Arts Center belongs to the people of Maquoketa. This 29,800 square foot performing arts center was built entirely with private donations, a Vision Iowa grant program and with Gary Drew leading volunteer labor. More than 900 families, individuals and businesses donated financial assistance, volunteered their labor and loaned or donated equipment and materials to complete the project.
In 1998 Gary Drew and his wife, Marilyn, purchased a 3 acre parcel on East Platt Street. In October of 1999 construction began with excavation for the foundation. In January of 2000 Dr. James and Harlene Kopel of Moline, Illinois made a large donation to the future fine arts center. The theatre in the Center is named in their honor. In September of 2001 a Vision Iowa grant was approved when John Fagerland and Edward Tubbs contributed matching funds. Fagerland and Tubbs acquired naming rights to the facility which became the Ohnward Fine Arts Center with the Drew Gallery and Kopel Theatre.
The Ohnward Fine Arts Center of Maquoketa officially opened in December of 2004. With the help of over 95,000 volunteer hours and $900,000 in little and big donations, the community of Maquoketa built this state-of-the-art Ohnward Fine Arts Center without the use of a single city or school tax dollar.
The amenities of the Kopel Theatre include 841 permanent seats, a 35 x 70 stage area, 4 dressing rooms, 2 backstage restrooms, a Yamaha Conservatory Grand piano, a 12,000 watt, 40 channel sound system and computer controlled lighting spots.