Springfield, MO

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Donation spares closure of arts school

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An 11th hour donation spared the Conservatory of the Ozarks arts school from closing at month's end.

Owner Heather Leverich yesterday posted on the company's Facebook page that business owners Jon and Dawnna Morris issued a check to pay for rent for the final three months of the year. Conservatory of the Ozarks operates at 3623 South Ave. in Kickapoo Corners.

"Jon and Dawnna took the time to visit the Conservatory and drop off a rescue check so the Conservatory can last to the end of 2020 for sure – and hopefully beyond that as well," Leverich said in the post.

Leverich connected with the Morrises after they saw a report in KY3 about Conservatory of the Ozarks’ planned Sept. 30 closure, according to the Facebook post. The Morrises own the Happy Feet sock store in the city of Cole Camp, as well as other retail concepts, according to the Sedalia Democrat.

In YouTube videos over the past week, Leverich said the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted her business, which provides voice and piano lessons, as well as drama and musical theater coaching.

"This pandemic has just done us in," she said in a Sept. 22 YouTube video. "We've had so many students who were not able to continue lessons during the COVID-19 shutdown. It's been six months of this very low enrollment for us."

Leverich said her leasing agent provided rent relief during the summer, though her business could not make payments starting in October. She also said she unsuccessfully applied for a Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act grant through Greene County.

Leverich also set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign Sept. 15, and it had raised $2,350 of its $15,000 goal as of 11:36 a.m.

Founded more than a decade ago, Conservatory of the Ozarks was a 2010 finalist for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Award.


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