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.
When you join us for some of the many summer arts activities at Mercerdale Park, you may notice that the sign indicating where Mercer Island Center for the Arts will be built has come down. The MICA Board of Directors decided to remove the site determination sign after learning that opponents applied to the City to put up a large anti-MICA sign next to our sign on the designated site at the abandoned recycling center. We think it is inappropriate that our parks become a battlefield of competing signs. When the MICA sign was put up nearly three years ago, it was a purely informational sign for the public.
Because the MICA volunteers and supporters are committed to the enhancement and beauty of Mercerdale Park, we would rather remove our sign than clutter and diminish the park with a competing sign from a political action committee. Though we encourage all forms of civil debate and discussion, we felt that competing signs upped the level of negative discourse regarding this issue. The MICA sign has done its job: educating the public of the existence of MICA and where it will be built.
MICA is still full steam ahead and the current project status is that we are awaiting a determination from the city on the SEPA review. We welcome all to stop by the office or call/email with questions. MICA staff and board members enjoy connecting with the public and listening to input and sharing information.
The community benefits of an arts center on Mercer Island are numerous and we’re spending the summer listening to what Islanders specifically value and qualities you prioritize.
MICA is building for the future. We look forward to your partnership in enhancing our community together.
Mercer Island Center for the Arts Board of Directors
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.