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.
By Connie Wible, one of MICA's future resident artists
I have lived on Mercer Island just above Mercerdale Park since 1988 and raised my 4 children here. The park and the trails above were a second home to me and my children.
I have taught piano lessons on the Island all these years, and I have seen in my own studio that music not only enriches the lives of musicians and their audiences, but it also powerfully enables communication and cognitive growth. MICA will be the place where I can share what I have learned with the community.
In the Music Technology Room MICA has designed with my help, I will be able to bring about, for the first time, a daytime program for seniors, including those with memory impairment, for which I have been training for the past 10 years. This MICA classroom will also be the home for Piano Keys to Autism, the keyboard methodology I developed and use with my Autism Spectrum students, many of whom are highly talented.
In addition, it will be a place of Music Wellness classes for adults. And of course MICA will be a welcome recital venue for piano students and professional musicians alike.
MICA will be a place where we can brainstorm, collaborate, and invent musical and other artistic activities for our community in the scale that is just right for this beloved park as it now stands, taking a space that has outlived its purpose and using it for community good.
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.