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.
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 Farmers Market, the Summer Celebration, the Mostly Music in the Park series, and other community events and amenities.
The site will support ADA compliment 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.
For years, organizations like Youth Theatre Northwest and Childrens Dance Conservatory/Island Youth Ballet have enthralled large and enthusiastic audiences. A community that so values local talent deserves a dedicated venue for showcasing and learning the arts. At MICA, Islanders of all ages can spend time together. They will gather here for live performances, films, workshops, speaker series, literary events - and the conversations and idea-sharing they spark.
The benefits of Mercer Island Center for the Arts aren’t confined to our building but ripple out across the island. Businesses, restaurants and institutions like our popular farmers market are boosted by a thriving Arts Center. As traffic in the I-90 corridor becomes more challenging, the Center for the Arts will provide convenient on-island cultural opportunities that are easily-accessible for seniors and young families. The Center will provide real and measurable value to the community.
Our community prides itself on providing exemplary experiences. Mercer Island Center for the Arts is the wise and valuable next step in our cultural and education development.
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.
MICA will create a focal point for the arts on Mercer Island. 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 gallery 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.
Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) is pleased to announce a major milestone in its plan to build an arts center on Mercer Island. The City of Mercer Island has issued a mitigated determination of non-significance (MDNS) for MICA’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) application. Furthermore, the city has opted to phase this determination into various parts as they review the zoning code text amendment, agreement to lease, and other land use actions. SEPA is the review process designed to provide a comprehensive review of a building proposal and requires the identification and evaluation of possible environmental impacts to all elements of the proposed development and construction. By issuing an MDNS, the City of Mercer Island has affirmed that MICA has demonstrated the ability to mitigate any potential environmental impact during the development and construction of the facility as currently designed. This process required months of collaboration between the City staff and MICA, during which MICA consulted with numerous environmental experts and responded to community feedback. This positive determination is a significant accomplishment to celebrate for the arts center project.
The lengthy SEPA process was led by MICA board member, Bruce Lorig. Lorig, a longtime island resident and founder of Lorig Associates has over 40 years of real estate development experience. Lorig says “it’s been a long journey for the building team with ups and downs. We stayed transparent throughout and true to the public process.” MICA would also like to thank the city staff leads: Robin Proebsting, Evan Maxim, and Scott Greenberg for their professionalism and commitment to the best interests of the island. Lastly, we would like to thank and invite all Mercer Islanders for their continued support.
Though this is a huge milestone, a significant amount of work remains ahead to secure zoning, permits and other approvals necessary to move the project forward. While this may be frustrating for the island and our supporters, MICA’s passion and commitment to the project remains unwavering. With the City Council election right around the corner, we encourage all supporters of an arts center to make your voice heard. Ask all council members and candidates about their stance on MICA and let them know yours. This email directs to all Council Members Council@mercergov.org. Once a lease has been signed, the project can move forward with permitting and a larger capital campaign. To review the SEPA application and read the city’s press release regarding the determination please visit www.mercergov.org/mica. MICA invites the public to inquire about the project, give input, and support the arts center. Our doors are always open.
Mercer Island Center for the Arts is a nonprofit community venture led by a board of directors of 17 Mercer Island residents, working closely with the city, partner arts organizations, and individual community members to create the future Center for the Arts on Mercer Island. MICA has created several resources to provide detailed information and updates on the conception and planning for the Center for the Arts. Answers to frequently asked questions are located at MercerIslandArts.org/FAQ. Questions can also be emailed to askMICA@MercerIslandArts.org or visit the MICA office at 7710 SE 29th St.
Don’t forget to visit the MICA Arts Calendar to receive up-to-date information about arts events happening on the island http://calendar.mercerislandarts.org/.
We need your help as a supporter of the arts and the community of Mercer Island.
MICA has received enthusiastic support or formal endorsement from over 20 Mercer Island organizations, including the Mercer Island Arts Council, Mercer Island Preschool Association, Musicworks Northwest, Mercer Island Visual Arts League, Mercer Island Farmers Market, Island Books, Aljoya, Island House, King County Library System, Musical Mind Studio, Island Choir Experience, Children’s Dance Conservatory, the Russian Chamber Music Foundation, and Youth Theatre Northwest.
Several out-of-town arts organizations like ACT Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Book-It Repertory Theatre, and Teatro ZinZanni have all expressed support to present performances at MICA.
Please consider becoming a Friend of MICA at this historic moment to help create the Mercer Island Center for the Arts.