5/19/2017 4:35:00 PM Stars ready to shine at Markay in Jackson
The orange fencing and construction barrels in front of the Markay Cultural Arts Center at 269 E. Main St. in downtown Jackson bear evidence that the construction is underway on the Sidewalk of Stars project. The stars will be unveiled at a public ceremony set for 2 p.m. Sunday, May 28. (Telegram Photo By Pete Wilson)
The stars are about to show up at the Markay Cultural Arts Center in downtown Jackson.
This is not a reference to the local and regional stars who perform in the Markay's state-of-the-art auditorium or even the Hollywood stars from yesteryear who appear on the Markay's big screen when classic movies are shown. In this case, the "stars" are 12 bronze star figures, which will be inlaid very soon in the new sidewalk in front of the Markay's front entrance at 269 East Main St. It will be an official culmination to the successful 20-year fund drive by the Southern Hills Arts Council (SHAC), which helped pay for the renovated auditorium, which opened for live performances in August 2015.
The Sidewalk of Stars project was initiated in 2010 by longtime Markay supporter Nea Stockmeister Henry and her late mother, Bernadine Stockmeister, to generate the final money needed to complete the auditorium renovation project. Donors made financial contributions toward the purchase of 11 24-inch-by24-inch bronze stars which will be encased in new concrete directly in front of the Markay's main entrance.
Each star cost $15,000 and all the proceeds went toward finishing the auditorium renovation project. Well after the fundraising work began on this project, SHAC leaders decided to start a fund drive for a 12th sidewalk star, this one to be done in honor of longtime SHAC president Maxine Plummer. Money is still being collected for this final star, but the funding for all other stars has been achieved. Once all the money is collected for the final star, a total of $180,000 will have been raised for the 12 stars.
The 12 stars were made by Masterworks Plaques of Brooklyn, New York for a total cost of $19,405. The construction contract to install the stars and new sidewalk was awarded to Stockmeister Enterprises for a cost of $8,640.
After seven years of fundraising and planning, the Markay stars are about ready to shine. The bronze stars have arrived at the Markay and the portion of the sidewalk in front of the Markay was removed by workers last Wednesday. SHAC Director of Operations Jennifer Hughes says the new concrete will be poured and if dry weather prevails, the stars could be installed as early as Monday of next week.
Once in place in the sidewalk, the stars will be covered and will not be revealed to the public until a special public unveiling ceremony, which is set for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 28.
The 12 Markay stars will bear the following names as either purchasers or honorees: A.J. and Bernadine Stockmeister; Rick and Ellen McNelly and family; General Mills; the God Star (spearheaded by Glenna Reed); Richard and Betty Franz and family; Nea Henry/Barry and Marsha Smith; Jack and Jane Kidd and family; Betty Martin and family; Sarah and Paul Mutzig and family; Caley and Barbara Summers; Paul and Wilma Stull and family; and Maxine Plummer.
Hughes says future donations will be placed in a perpetual care fund, which will be used to provide proper maintenance for the sidewalk stars.