Support the Arts
With Your Donation
Dorothy K. Merrill Center for the Arts
“Those communities that are richest in their artistic tradition are also those that are the most progressive in their economic performance and the most resilient and secure in their economic structure.” – John Kenneth Galbraith, economist
Arts Connection is proud to collaborate with South Washington County School District #833 to add a Center for the Arts to our Community.
GROWING COMMUNITY: South Washington County is a fast-growing community of nearly 100,000 residents in Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park and Woodbury, and boasts many wonderful park, recreation and athletic resources. However, this vibrant community is measurably lacking in visual and performing arts spaces and opportunities for both artists & audience members.
FINE ARTS DEMAND: The availability of visual arts and performance venues in our community is limited. However, the demand for art, music, and theater is seen by the large turn-out for current local performance opportunities, as well as the long waiting lists for art & theater classes. The limitation is not lack of interest, rather lack of space. Use of area schools and churches is no longer a viable option, as those organizations have themselves grown dramatically and use their spaces nearly fulltime.
What is needed in the South Washington County area is a home for the arts – a place that can serve as the “nerve center” for non-profit arts groups to use for rehearsals and performances, for arts outreach and education, and for volunteer and community-building within the arts that will help to better organize and expand the fine arts experience for our growing community.
A VALUE-ADDED OPPORTUNITY: A unique opportunity to meet the need for and interest in a Center for the Arts in our community has presented itself with the passing of a bond referendum for a 3rd high school in our district. This new high school will reside on 80 acres of a 320-acre campus, with 240 acres owned by the City of Woodbury that is being co-planned to provide a new and exciting destination in our community, complete with the high school and a rich array of athletic resources and small business opportunities. This prime location can also serve as our new home for the arts to benefit artists, art students & audiences alike.
CENTER FOR THE ARTS DESIGN ELEMENTS:
- Art Gallery & Studio for community arts education and display venues.
- Black Box Theater for rehearsals and small performances, with 200+ retractable seats.
- Community Theater Center for costume and set building and storage, volunteer meeting space, and a history gallery for community theater.
- Mainstage Theater & Auditorium featuring 948 seats with 1st and 2nd floor entrances in a state-of-the-art space for theater, orchestra, band, choir and dance performances; Arts Connection will have a cooperative use agreement with East Ridge High School to use this space for dedicated times during the year.
- Performing Arts Grand Foyer features a grand entrance into the main theater and auditorium, complete with a reception area for large events.
- Art Center Entryway & Box Office will be adjacent to the art gallery and will serve as an art display venue along with a theater box office and lobby area suitable for hosting smaller fine arts events.
- Theater Working Corridors which will attach the community Center for the Arts to East Ridge High School, allowing both the high school and Arts Connection to function autonomously as well as cooperatively. The corridor structure also provides a true “state right and stage left” opportunity for the theater mainstage, by allowing performers to cross the stage from behind (without going outside, as they do now at both high schools!)
- An additional classroom or restrooms may also be added as the design is completed.
For more detailed information on the preliminary design for the Center for the Arts, view our brochure.
View/Print Our Donor Brochure (.pdf file) to make your pledge of support.
ACT ONE IS NOW COMPLETE!
Many dedicated volunteers have been working hard over the past year to build a solid foundation for an art center in our community, with the following results:
PRIME LAND LOCATION: Received land and leadership commitment from South Washington County District #833 for a community Center for the Arts.
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN: Received architectural design support for the arts center.
ARTS CONNECTION OFFICE: Received in-kind support from the City of Woodbury for an Arts Connection office.
ENDOWMENT PLEDGE OF $1.6 MILLION: Secured anonymous pledge currently valued at $1.6 million to act as an operating fund and endowment for the art center.
LEADERSHIP TEAM & STAFF ESTABLISHED: Established a leadership team and hired a consultant to assist with fundraising and further development of the Center for the Arts.
ACT TWO – WE NEED YOU!
Please click here for more information about how you get involved and support the new Center for the Arts!