By Barry Dalton
When the LaFemme Arts Club was originally formed in 1955, it was a nationally federated club. It worked with two other federated groups in Vandalia to begin beautifying the downtown area.
“We originally started by going around to all of the merchants and asking if they would like to have a flower box in front of their business,” said Janie Zimmer, who joined in 1960. “We would build the flower box, plant the flowers and take care of it. We would charge as a moneymaker.”
Other projects the club has done includes purchasing trash cans for parks along Main Street, erecting hanging flower baskets on downtown streets as well as banners on Main and the highway, and planting flowers in pots at Main and State.
The pandemic did manage to slow the group’s progress in 2020, though, making it difficult to raise funds and work on the project, said Ann Kohl, a member of the club.
The group plans to begin beautifying the North Railroad Park flower area on June 8 at 5 p.m. The area was originally planted in the 1980s and needs a complete redo: new shrubbery, mulch, flowers and landscape timbers.
“So we’ve kind of got to a point where we’re wanting to start over fresh,” Zimmer added. “And then eventually find someone to help maintain it.”
All of the current members are in their 70s and 80s, which hasn’t stopped them from rolling up their sleeves and pulling weeds, but they are in dire need of volunteer assistance–of any age or gender–for this project.
Donations may be dropped off at State Farm on Hwy. 54 or mailed to Carol Johnson, LaFemme Arts Club treasurer, at 314 Utterback, Vandalia, MO 63382. Even better, you can bring it in person along with trucks, equipment and muscles on June 8.
Any questions may be directed to Linda Klug, club president, at 573-489-1888.