Clarification on Friends of the Masonic theater drops position


From: Margaret Shaw Johnson

Friends of the Masonic


A clarification is in order concerning the position of Friends of the Masonic in regard to the offer of Paul Sannerud to buy the historic theater scene drops. Friends of the Masonic has certainly not taken a position to support such a move. The position of the organization has always been that the drops should be restored and rehung for use in their original location at Winona’s historic Masonic Theater. That position has not changed.

Friends of the Masonic was organized when hundreds of Winonans attended an event during which the drops were displayed. Its members have always been committed to the drops and their retention at the Masonic. Should the drops be sold, it is highly unlikely that they will ever be returned to the Masonic. This would be a terrible loss to the community and its efforts to become a regional hub for arts and culture. 

 I’ve seen no reason to believe that creation of a modern, multi-use facility cannot coexist with the drops, or at least a significant number of them. A modern space will be nice. However, there are lots of nice modern theaters throughout the region. With will, creativity and determination, Winona can be the only one to have a modern space complete with a set of beautiful, useful and historic theater drops. 

I would urge anyone who has not seen the drops to look at the online photos at:


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