Performing arts wing next step for cultural center
With a decade of work already done on its project at the former Central School, the Chehalem Cultural Center announced Nov. 1 that phase three of the makeover is under way. A performing arts wing of the Central School building will include a mid-sized performance space named the LaJoie Theater, located in the schools' former auditorium.
"The 9,000 (square-foot) performing arts wing has been the CCC's diamond in the rough since the organization was founded in 2005, and the multistage redevelopment of the 44,00-square-foot building was put into motion and will include the 250-seat LaJoie Theatre, a dance and movement studio, newly renovated Tri Family Grand Lobby and more," a release from CCC said. "Yamhill County currently lacks a quality mid-sized, public use performance venue. This project fills this need by providing equitable access to high quality performing arts facilities for thousands while presenting an economic boon to the entire region."
Phase one of the project was completed in 2010 at the time of CCC's grand opening. That portion of the project included seismic upgrades, art studios and galleries, musical offerings, meeting rooms and offices and the forecourt plaza.
Phase two began in 2014 and included the grand ballroom along with the culinary enrichment center. That portion was completed in 2019.
"Together, these facilities substantially increased CCC's capacity to expand its education offerings, host large scale events, serve concessions and produce venue rental income," the release said. "The story of the Chehalem Cultural Center is one of steady and profound growth supported by an ongoing investment in community. This Phase III performing arts wing is the next step in the immediate and long-term strategic plan to bring a greater diversity and number of people into the center, generate more earned income and complete renovations of the historic landmark. With a successful track record as an arts and culture hub and a location at the heart of the Newberg Cultural District, CCC is perfectly poised to fill a regional need by creating a destination-worthy performing arts venue in Yamhill County."
CCC received input on the design from local stakeholders in the performing arts community, including Willamette Shakespeare, Penguin Productions and Chehalem Valley Dance Academy, among others. The hope is that the theater will attract regional touring shows as well as put on local productions, serving as a space for future generations of thespians to learn as well.
"This project furthers our mission to inspire and enrich lives by connecting community and culture in new and exciting ways," Sean Andries, executive director of the cultural center, said in the release. "The new spaces will provide our community greater access to the wealth of artists our region has to offer. We believe consistent opportunities to engage with high-caliber artistic product drives fluency in and familiarity with art giving our community a greater vocabulary with which to bridge cultural divides. Our growing performing arts offerings have been a particularly popular and galvanizing part of our heritage events and cultural programming; and this project has been designed with and for the community."
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