A task force of local arts advocates hopes to begin construction on a mid-size, community-oriented performing and visual arts center in the next two or three years.
The group is bringing in a consultant in June to help with planning.
The consultant, James Baudoin from Theatre Collaborative, will help determine the best configuration, develop a preliminary program plan and create an initial business plan and timeline, according to information from the Arts Center Task Force.
Baudoin will be in town June 8-10. Task force officials said he will meet with local arts groups and community leader,s and also interview “potential local users and key constituents to determine the requirements for both the performing and display spaces.”
“He is not only interested in talking to the organizers of local activities, but the artists who participate in them. The intent is to understand what the arts community as a whole would want from an arts center dedicated to their needs,” a news release said.
Steven Wiley, task force chairman, said community engagement is important.
“We want anyone who’s interested to talk with us. This is a public, transparent process,” he said.
The performing and visual arts center is envisioned as having an auditorium, with possibly about 800 seats, plus space for displaying artwork.
Wiley’s group expects to pay for it through fundraising and grants.
The Vista Field redevelopment in Kennewick would be an ideal location, Wiley said.
The Port of Kennewick owns the former airport, near the Three Rivers campus, and has plans to turn it into a mixed-use development with residential, commercial, office and entertainment space.
While an agreement to build the community oriented arts center on the property isn’t in place, port officials are open to the idea, and it’s included in a yet-to-be-finalized redevelopment master plan. The consultant’s work will give the task force a proposal to take to the port, Wiley said.
A performing arts center long has been needed and desired in the Tri-Cities, say arts groups and others. The community’s arts groups — from Mid-Columbia Mastersingers to Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre — struggle to find performance venues, competing for limited church and school space.
The visual and performing arts center would meet the needs of the local arts group for the next several years, Wiley said. A larger facility, with as many as three-times the number of seats, still is envisioned in the long-term.
To provide input about the arts center in the works, email firstname.lastname@example.org.