Editor's note: Muncie Origins is a Ball State Daily News series profiling various businesses that originated in Muncie.
For 90 years, Cornerstone Center for the Arts has been towering over the other buildings in downtown Muncie.
The historic building in which Cornerstone Center for the Arts is located was originally built in 1926. Throughout the first 75 years of its existence, the building was used to host various community events; however, by 1999, the huge building was beginning to show its age.
Concerned Muncie community members came together and, with the help of the Ball Brothers Foundation, purchased the building, updated it and renamed it the Community Civic Center.
In 2005, the Community Civic Center joined forces with the Muncie Center for the Arts, another arts organization that had already been created in the community, and formed the Cornerstone Center for the Arts organization.
Today, Cornerstone Center for the Arts has more than 90,000 annual visitors as well as more than 1,000 students enrolled in its various classes.
“I am continually amazed at the ideas generated to raise funding and promote the arts,” said Marilyn Cleary, Cornerstone’s executive director. “The classes offered are varied, and our student numbers have increased.”
The center offers the Muncie community a way to learn more about the arts with classes in different categories taught by experienced teachers.
People can turn up the music and get their feet moving in one of the various dance classes that Cornerstone offers. Or one can start strumming a guitar and running a finger over the ivories by partaking in a music lesson at the center.
Students can even work on their chances of making it to Broadway by participating in one of Cornerstone’s theater classes. There is a wide variety of class options, and Cornerstone hopes to have something for everyone.
Cornerstone Center for the Arts also hosts many one-time events throughout the year. Just throughout the past month alone, the center sponsored a performance of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show," a family-friendly Halloween party, as well an adults-only bash and two different haunted houses.
The center also allows its historic space to be rented out for anything from birthday celebrations to anniversary parties to wedding ceremonies and receptions.
“We are doing more rental events [than] ever,” Cleary said.
Cornerstone Center for the Arts also has opportunities for volunteer hours. Many Ball State students choose to spend time providing community service at the arts center.
“The people there are so nice,”said Janell Barker, who volunteered at Cornerstone’s Son of Scarevania haunted attraction. “It was a great decision to choose this place to get my community service hours in.”
With many art education programs declining in recent years, organizations like Cornerstone Center for the Arts have become even more important.
Cornerstone Center for the Arts allows individuals to experience the arts, no matter who they are or where they come from.
To find out more about Cornerstone classes and events, visit their website.