The 300-seat Main Stage will be home to Youth Theatre’s larger shows and the best of regional theater. Dance performances, large concerts, films, lectures, and public meetings will all have a spacious and elegant new venue.
The Mercer Island Center for the Arts will be a cultural focal point on Mercer Island where Islanders and people from throughout the Puget Sound area gather to converse and create, to celebrate excellence in the lively arts, and to inspire generations of artists, audiences, and students through exceptional live performances, special events, exhibitions, and educational experiences.
MICA will be located on city-owned land adjacent to the northwest corner of Mercerdale Park. It will open out to the park, bringing year-round energy and activity and confirming Mercerdale as a focal point for the town center. MICA will provide facility support for the Farmer’s Market, the Summer Celebration, the Mostly Music in the Park series, and other community events and amenities.
The site will support parking for disabled and drop off. Street parking will be created by restriping 77th Avenue SE and SE 32nd Street. MICA is in close conversation with local businesses and others about shared after-hours parking. A shuttle could also be run from the Park and Ride lots on the north side of the Town Center.
Youth Theatre Northwest is a cultural gem that serves 2,000 children a year and sells nearly 15,000 tickets. After 30 years of successful operation it has been displaced from its original home on school district property to make way for a new school. It is currently operating out of interim space graciously provided by Emmanuel Episcopal Church.
MICA will give Youth Theatre Northwest a beautiful new permanent home and keep the facility filled with life and activity throughout the year. Beyond YTN’s usage, the design concept creates plenty of performance and exhibition spaces, and educational opportunities for a vast array of Island and regional arts organizations.
Total campaign cost including design, permitting, construction and operating reserve will be approximately $25 million. To date, we have received $4.8 million in cash and pledges.
We are projecting ground breaking in 2017 and a grand opening in 2018.
MICA will create a focal point for the arts on Mercer Island, offering something nearly every single day of the year. It will help revitalize the business district, attracting audiences and patrons from both on and off the Island. It will become an essential cultural destination.
A beautiful, expansive, glass-fronted lobby and gallery, with a commanding view of Mercerdale Park, will host rotating art exhibits featuring work by Island and regional artists. Receptions, galas and gatherings will fill the space. It will also feature a café and bar.
These inviting venues will provide a great showcase for theater and dance performances, music recitals, artwork, and band and choir concerts for the young people of the Island. It will give them a safe and stimulating place to learn, grow, and be with their friends.
It will provide wonderful activities for seniors as a place for lecture series, demonstrations, readings, and film presentations.
MICA will host educational opportunities in theater, music, dance, and art with its classrooms, rehearsal rooms, and movement and art studios. It will be home to classes from Youth Theatre Northwest, Music Works Northwest, Musical Mind Studio, The Children’s Dance Conservatory, the Mercer Island Visual Arts League, Russian Chamber Music Foundation of Seattle, and others.
Focus on Education and Performances Creates Diversified Revenues
Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) released preliminary operating plan projections today. The three-year plan projects steady state annual operating revenue of $543,000, contributed revenue (fundraising) of $323,000 and expenses of $866,000.
MICA researched, developed and refined its operating plan from April 2014 to December 2015 in consultation with AMS Planning & Research, a global arts and entertainment industry consulting firm with over 25 years’ experience working with hundreds of arts organizations. AMS’ clients have included Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, the Sydney Opera House and the Seattle Symphony as well as numerous community performing arts centers nationwide.
“The MICA operating pro forma is based on detailed research in the local arts and cultural sector, data from our nationwide performing arts benchmarking program PACStatssm and extensive conversations with MICA leadership and local user groups,” said Katie Oman, Director of AMS. “It is informed by industry best practices including conservative attendance estimates and an annual contribution to a 30-year building maintenance reserve fund. Based on the projected activity and normal industry operations, the contributed income level falls well within the expected range for community arts venues, as well as the expected parameters of a vital and productive operation.”
Plan highlights include:
Robust usage of 241 total use days (rehearsals, performances and rentals) per performance space
Over 2,400 class sessions in the studios, theatre lab and classrooms
Over 1,500 classes/lessons in four practice rooms
Diversified revenue: 47% from performance space and rehearsal rentals; 40% from classes and 13% from ticketing.
Future MICA user groups consulted for the plan include Youth Theatre Northwest, Children’s Dance Conservatory/Island Youth Ballet, Mercer Island Visual Arts League, Music Works Northwest, Musical Mind Studio and Russian Chamber Music Foundation. Projected support for usage by the Farmers Market and the City were also included.
For conservatism, the model does not include any income from the planned café or from any programs produced by MICA directly on an “at-risk” basis.
“Multiple organizations based in MICA will offer a wide variety of arts performances, events and classes for community members of all ages. This will diversify our revenue streams and reduce risk relative to other centers nationwide which rely on the success of one organization or are limited to a single-use facility,” said Peter Hutt, MICA Treasurer. “Most importantly, arts education is integral to our mission and improves the financial results, with 40% of revenues coming from classes.”
Click here for the full opinion letter from AMS summarizing the operating plan is posted on MICA’s website.
For more information about MICA and additional information on the projected finances of the Arts Center facility, visit MercerIslandArts.org/faq.
This project is on a fast track. We need your help as a supporter of the arts and the community of Mercer Island. MICA’s ambitious plan is to raise the majority of capital funding by early 2017, and have a construction timeline of approximately 18 months.
MICA has received enthusiastic support or formal endorsement from over 20 Mercer Island organizations, including the Mercer Island Arts Council (in a unanimous vote), Mercer Island Preschool Association, Mercer Island Visual Arts League, Mercer Island Farmer’s Market, Island Books, Aljoya, Island House, KCLS, Musical Mind Studio, Island Choir Experience, the Children’s Dance Conservatory, the Russian Chamber Music Foundation, and Youth Theatre Northwest.
ACT Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Book-It Repertory Theatre, and Teatro ZinZanni have all expressed support for presenting performances at MICA.
Please consider a generous gift at this historic moment to help create the Mercer Island Center for the Arts.