Theater supporters go to work

MIPAC wants to raise profile of Island as a ‘Center for the arts’

  • Tuesday, November 19, 2013 3:25pm
  • News

The group supporting the development the concept of building a Mercer Island Performing Arts Center (MIPAC) in the Town Center had its first meeting Nov. 11.

More than 60 community members attended. They included city and school leaders, business owners, arts organizations and community activists and Youth Theatre Northwest supporters, the Farmer’s Market and interested citizens.

In a press release, MIPAC Taskforce Chair John Gordon Hill outlined the elements that form what he called, the vision for a performance arts center, here.

Hill is a filmmaker, director, musician, teacher, arts advocate, and long-time resident of Mercer Island

“The MIPAC will be a multi-theatre venue for plays, dance, concerts, recitals, lectures, films, and all forms of performing art; a cultural gathering place for Mercer Island and the surrounding communities; a key amenity and downtown destination draw not just for children and families, but for seniors and all adults as well.”

The MIPAC will offer something nearly every single day of the year, he continued.

The press release said outside arts organizations are interested in the concept.

“The MIPAC will also attract regional and national music acts, and all manner of performing artists, raising the profile of Mercer Island as a center for the arts. Interest has been expressed by major Seattle theatrical companies for mounting productions in such a venue.  It will also be a space for the exhibition of visual arts. It is envisioned that the lobby and other public areas will be a place of continuously rotating shows of painting, photography and sculpture,” the press release said.

The MIPAC would be the permanent home of the 30-year-old Youth Theatre Northwest that serves over 2,000 youth each year with drama related classes. It holds several performances and events each year.

The Mercer Island School District has plans to reclaim its land that is YTN’s at current home to build a new elementary school. The old building will be torn down. YTN must find a new place for its drama classes and productions.

At a City Council planning session in June, the Council set up a committee to study possible facility scenarios both in terms of sites and in terms of a business relationship between the City and YTN.

The committee included Councilmember Jane Meyer Brahm, Councilmember Tana Senn, City Manager Rich Conrad and Youth Theatre Northwest Executive Director Manny Cawaling.

They were to evaluate six proposed sites and choose one, based on parking, traffic and access, land use and financial viability.

The committee’s recommendation was that the old recycling center site be studied for the future facility.

At the Aug. 12, meeting, Conrad also explained that committee’s  recommendation assumes that YTN would serve as the primary tenant of the facility and that other public performances would be accommodated. YTN would undertake the design, construction, financing, and management of the future facility.

The City’s role will be confined to providing the land for the new facility plus access to parking spaces at the Mercer Island Thrift Shop and in the adjacent public rights-of-way.

The report also said “further public presentations and outreach will be necessary before the City Council can make an irreversible commitment of the public lands.”

Councilmember Senn noted then, that “YTN has to demonstrate that they can accomplish the project.

Arts and community organizations have been are invited to contact the MIPAC taskforce about how they might use it. The taskforce also wants input into the size of performance venues, classroom and rehearsal spaces needed, and number of days per year that they might need.

This input will serve as a starting point for designing a facility with sufficient space to accommodate as many needs as possible, within the limits of the site and the MIPAC’s ability to raise money, the report said.

Email any questions or comments to info@mercerislandpac.org.

 

More in News

Sound Transit unveils bus turnaround options for Mercer Island

Islanders will have a chance to comment on their preferred alternative.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Sternberg 
                                8-year-old Lucy Sternberg holds up her sign, created for a community rally on Mercer Island.
More love: Mercer Island communities join together to share, heal

Impacted Jewish cohorts and other gather following more anti-semetic incidents.

Construction crews work on the Mercer Island Station, preparing for the eventual East Link connection that will extend Seattle’s light rail to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond. Kailan Manandic/Staff Photo
I-90 HOV ramps close for East Link construction

The East Link Extension project will close HOV ramps at Island Crest Way up until March 29.

The Cedar Hills Regional Landfill is the only active landfill in King County. It will operate until at least 2028. It has been in operation since the 1960s. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Waste study puts numbers behind King County trash alternatives

County has one remaining landfill located near Maple Valley, and it’s nearing capacity

U.S. is now grounding Renton-made 737 MAX 8 and 9; Boeing supports decision

Update: The decision does not affect Renton production lines.

Redmond Mayor John Marchione was among many community members to place their hand prints in the wet cement below the new sign at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound in Redmond after the mosque’s old sign was vandalized in 2016. File photo
Examining hate crimes on the Eastside

The Anti-Defamation League has been tracking hate-fueled crimes and incidents to paint a picture of trends in communities.

Photo courtesy of Erin Krawiec 
                                Lexi Krawiec used chalkboard paint to create chalkboards that raised awareness for Save The Children, which works to provide access to education for children around the world.
Lakeridge Elementary students raise money for charities

Third, fourth and fifth grade students create and sell products at “Merchants With a Cause” fair to support charities.

East Mercer neighbors’ concerns about wetlands, trees resurface

A permit was re-filed for a lot that contains a stream and an “eagle tree.”

Women in law enforcement take the lead

King County’s female police chiefs outline their career paths.

Executive Constantine’s proposal will expand King County’s 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 28,000 acres of open space. Photo Courtesy of King County.
Executive Dow Constantine announces plan to renew King County Parks Levy

The proposal for the August ballot would generate an estimated $738 million over the next six years.

Students issue statement after Nazi salute photo goes viral

School district investigating the photo posted to social media.

File photo
Ferguson contacts WA sheriffs about enforcing gun control measure

Letter addresses points of confusion over Initiative 1639