A jewel in Spencer
The LuCille Tack Center for the Arts is a vital part of the local arts scene
By Adam Hocking
SPENCER — Deborah Janz is the executive director of the LuCille Tack Center for the Arts (LTCA) in Spencer, and she is the proud overseer of the 500-seat theater and adjacent art gallery that serves to entertain, educate, and enrich people from all over central Wisconsin. This is the 20th year of the LTCA’s existence.
LuCille Tack, a lifelong resident of Spencer, left money in her will to either build a fine arts center or a swimming pool, and the community decided on an arts center. The mission of Tack’s bequest was to leave something that would enrich the lives of children.
“They (Mr. and Mrs. Tack) were just those quiet, philanthropic-type of people that gave a lot to their church and the community,” Janz said.
The theater at the LTCA is used both as a venue for students of Spencer as well as an entertainment space for primarily musicians to come and perform. The art gallery has exhibits, which are generally open during the time shows are taking place in the theater. LTCA is under the same roof as the Spencer high school, middle school, and elementary, but it operates as an independent nonprofit organization.
Janz said that the school and students are the first priority in terms of using the LTCA, and shows for the general public are programmed around the needs of the students. The school may use the theater for music practice, rehearsals, and presentations to the students. Janz said about 10 non-school related performances come to the LTCA each year during its season, which runs the same length as the school year.
The LTCA is funded through ticket sales, donations, grants, and sponsorships. Janz said that the LTCA tries to bring a variety of performers to Spencer to give audiences artistic exposure that might normally only be found in larger cities. The venue also has a series showcasing local talent.
“People all sit here in the evening, the lights go out, and then they leave completely different with a little something magic that happens between the actors and the audience,” Janz said. “People appreciate the venue, the acoustics are wonderful, and our prices are very affordable.”
The LTCA also presents an “Arts Adventure” series for students from all over central Wisconsin. These performances tend to be shows that bring history to life on the stage or find an entertaining way to present an important message.
“It is so much fun, and the teachers from surrounding communities really love it,” Janz said. A story chronicling Martin Luther King will be one such performance in this series coming up this school year. Janz said that despite central Wisconsin not having a major population center, there is much going on from an artistic perspective, including the Chestnut Center for the Arts and Vox Concert Series in Marshfield, in addition to the activities of the LTCA.
While she is the only employee of the LTCA, Janz said there are a number of volunteer committees and students that help set up the stage, operate the lights, and make sure everything runs smoothly for performances.
Janz added that she feels privileged to be in a position where she gets to bring entertainment to the Spencer community.
“It’s the best job in the world. I get to listen to great music all day, look at beautiful art, see talented theatrical experiences,” she said, adding that watching the expressions of people enjoying performances brings her joy.
“It’s just been an amazing ride. It means a lot to the community and the school, and we’re very, very proud of it,” Janz said.
For more information about the LuCille Tack Center for the Arts, including how to donate or details on upcoming events, visit lucilletackcenter.com.