White Bear Rotarians get in on act at new theater

Rotarian Dick Galena introduced Kari Bullion, left, executive director of Children’s Performing Arts, and Sharon Hanifl-Lee, the theater’s board president, at the Sept. 27 Rotary Club meeting. The women spoke to Rotary about the program and CPA’s role in the new Hanifl Performing Arts Center. 

WHITE BEAR LAKE — A $50,000 contribution to the new Hanifl Performing Arts Center earned the Rotary Club naming rights to the box office. 

It will be called the “White Bear Lake Rotary Box Office.”

Past President Ken Galloway said once the club finished paying off its 10-year commitment to the Clark Avenue restoration project a few years ago, they looked for another project. “Several of us took on the task of recommending a worthy project we thought would make an impactful contribution to the community, and promote visibility of our club,” recalled Galloway. “Lakeshore Players Theatre was just getting its capital campaign going, so I decided to champion that project to the board. We investigated four other worthy projects that went to membership for a vote. The club chose the box office.”

The $50,000 pledge will be paid off over a 10-year period.

Rotary's commitment to the new theater complex, under construction on Long Avenue, was noted during a presentation by Sharon Hanifl-Lee and Kari Bullion, representatives of Children's Performing Arts (CPA) in Forest Lake. The children's theater group will move its headquarters to the new Hanifl Performing Arts Center and will share the facility with Lakeshore Players Theatre. 

Hanifl-Lee is vice president of the Hanifl Foundation, started by her parents, Paul and Suzanne Hanifl, in 1999. They secured naming rights to the performing arts center through a $2.75 million gift last April. 

“We have been blessed with success and believe it should be shared with the community,” Hanifl-Lee said. “The foundation has supported children's theater for years and White Bear is a town that clearly understands the value of the arts.” 

The CPA was started 12 years ago to provide theater education programs for children.


Debra Neutkens

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