Donor Pledges $1 Million to ArtsGreensboro to Create New Performance and Rehearsal Space for Dance, Theatre, Music, and Other Events in Downtown’s Cultural Center
At Thursday’s work session, City Council agrees to consider public/private partnership to expand existing Cultural Center facilities
Greensboro, N.C., October 16, 2014 — ArtsGreensboro announced today that renowned choreographer and Dance Project artistic director Jan Van Dyke has pledged up to $1 million to create a new downtown performance and rehearsal space by expanding existing facilities at Greensboro’s Cultural Center on Davie Street.
The proposed project would provide a flexible downtown venue in which to produce dance, theatre, music, and a variety of other events with professional technical capabilities and seating for 400 to 500 patrons.
The announcement came after today’s Greensboro City Council work session, following a presentation by Van Dyke and ArtsGreensboro CEO Thomas Philion,
“Jan’s remarkable commitment will help us create something unique and special downtown,” said Philion. “This new space will complement the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, filling a gap for smaller arts groups as well as entrepreneurs, event producers, and the community. Just as importantly, it will achieve all this at a modest cost.”
Van Dyke explained, “Young artists and producers often leave Greensboro after graduation because they lack opportunities to present their work. This facility will enable dancers and other artists to showcase their work cost-effectively in a professionally outfitted space. With an appropriately-sized stage, outstanding technical capabilities, and a ‘sweet spot’ of 400 to 500 income-generating seats, this facility will answer that need.”
Proposed plans include an additional entrance to the Cultural Center facing the new LeBauer Park; a lobby that will take the place of the current board room; and the 7,500-square foot performance space with moveable seating and staging, state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment, and added facilities for patron comfort.
With this expansion, the Cultural Center would be better positioned to actively engage with the Park and its users. Furthermore, it would strategically connect the Cultural Center, City Center and LeBauer Parks, the performing arts center, the Historical Museum, the Children’s Museum, and the Central Library into a truly cohesive Downtown Cultural District.
Van Dyke said she had been looking for potential property downtown for nearly two years. When a recent Cultural Center Visioning Study sparked interest in the idea of expanding space there, Van Dyke and Philion came together to discuss the idea of creating a partnership with the City.
The Cultural Center itself was the outcome of a similar partnership. Operating in its current form since 1990, the Cultural Center was created under the auspices of the United Arts Council (now ArtsGreensboro) as the result of a $2 million private fundraising campaign combined with a $5 million bond initiative. While many credit the Cultural Center as one of the catalysts for subsequent downtown revitalization, the building itself has seen no significant changes or improvements since it opened.
“This is a tremendous opportunity that could be a win-win for the arts community and our city,” said Philion. “It’s the domino effect. Jan Van Dyke has a long-held dream of creating a unique performance space; the Cultural Center needs to be reimagined and reconfigured so it can thrive and serve our community in an evolving downtown landscape; and the City envisions the creation of a cohesive Cultural District. Jan’s incredibly generous gift has set all this in motion.”