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Our History

Grace E. Buchanan 

Grace Elizabeth Stephenson was born in Wyoming, Illinois in 1894. To better his family lot, Grace's father led them from Illinois to West Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, and back to Illinois. She was a country girl at heart who developed a passion for the arts.


Grace and her husband, Mathew J. Gross, settled at the Highland Farm on the eastern edge of Monmouth in 1921. While they built their treasured homestead and tended their precious black angus herd, Grace lived a life filled with beauty that came from both the countryside and her appreciation for the truly finer things in life. After the death of Matthew in 1943, Grace married Charles Buchanan in the autumn of 1947.


Grace deeply believed that arts, music, dance, and theater should be open to all. She knew these aspects enhance our capacity to see and hear the beauty in our lives and to deepen the understanding of the human response to the world.


Grace requested that her estate establish and provide opportunities for education in and enjoyment of the arts in Warren County. From her memorial trust, the Buchanan Center for the Arts was founded in 1989, chartered by the State of Illinois as a nonprofit organization. The legacy of Grace Buchanan is a space where all of Warren County and surrounding area can share in the arts.


Serving as a gallery space for artists, a special event venue, and an educational institution, it also has authority as a regranting agency for the Illinois Arts Council Agency. This designation allows the center to grant IACA funds, along with matching funds raised locally, to arts groups, organizations, schools, and artists in Warren County.

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