The owners of Metro Galley had a vision of what their small business could do to help with the Center for Art and Education’s relocation to downtown Van Buren.

Mark Shaffer and Ken Robison, co-owners of Metro Gallery at 610 Main St., said they realized the CAE’s planned move to the 400 block of Main Street is a huge part of the revitalization that is taking place in historic downtown.

“The idea was born that we could give away a car and sell raffle tickets,” Shaffer said.

He said many large corporations in the River Valley have come forward with large donations to support the effort for CAE. Small business owners also have stepped up and made donations or helped sponsor events such as the Glow Run that took place in June.

Shaffer said he and Robison were visiting with friends Marr Lynn Goines-Bearden and Mary Ann Dodd and pitched the idea to them.

“Both ladies loved the idea and wanted to be a part of it,” Shaffer said.

Goines-Bearden, who owns Marrlin Transit, said she had been looking at making a donation to CAE’s building fund and wanted to be part of it. Dodd offered any assistance she could give and helped facilitate a meeting with her friend David Neal, dealer principal for Rhodes Chevrolet.

Within a week, Metro Gallery, Marrlin Transit and Rhodes Chevrolet all came together to give a 2017 Chevrolet Camaro away with all profits benefiting CAE’s building campaign.

“I could not be happier with what is happening in downtown Van Buren,” Shaffer said. “The art center will make a big impact down here and bring locals and visitors who might not come otherwise. As a business owner in downtown and being the justice of the peace for this area, this is a project that is very important to me.”

Robison said, “As a former art student myself, I see this new art center as being something our students can use to further learn and display art and even give them teaching platform for those coming behind them.”

Tickets are $20 each and only 3,000 are being sold. The drawing will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Downtown Junk Fest. Tickets can be purchased at the CAE, Metro Gallery or other individuals around town.

For more information, call (479) 414-3320 or (479) 806-4540.

CAE has celebrated raising the first $1 million of its $5.4 millionImagine Capital Campaign to renovate to a new location in the 400 block of Main Street, according to Jane Owen, executive director.

To help in this effort, the art center will receive $2 million from a Windgate Challenge Grant once a matching $2 million is raised through donations received by 2018.

Acquired by CAE in 2015, the Main Street building will serve as the center’s new art education and gallery facility.

Plans include the acquisition and development of a half-block area of open-space property behind the building as a landscaped park, sculpture garden and outside events area for the CAE and community.

More than 3,000 individuals annually are served by the non-profit organization. The center is now housed in a 103-year-old repurposed church building on North 13th Street.

The new building will be more accessible, allowing the CAE to expand its programs, and be more efficient to operate and maintain, Owen said.