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.
New Friends of MICA Program Empowers Community Involvement and Support
Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) today released its Annual Report 2015 "A Sense of Place", the first annual report for the non-profit organization, to every household in the Mercer Island community. The Annual Report 2015 highlights the work of the founding Board of Directors, professional partners, MICA resident users, and many individuals and organizations in the community who have labored to create an organizational structure that will support the creation and building of a center for the arts on Mercer Island.
Art Brings Us Together is the central theme. MICA will provide a focal point for creating and experiencing art in all its forms, benefiting all from preschoolers to seniors. It will also redefine the town center, focusing and nourishing the social and economic life on the Island. MICA’s mission lives in the union of the arts, community, and education.
“A remarkable group of your fellow citizens have volunteered their time and money to create a beautiful new home for theater, music, dance, and the visual arts on the Island,” said President / Board Chair, John Gordon Hill in his Message from the President. The Annual Report 2015 introduces the MICA Board of Directors, 15 community volunteers who represent significant professional experience and community service in finance, legal, construction, fundraising, and nonprofit and arts management. MICA’s resident users are also introduced: Youth Theatre Northwest, Children’s Dance Conservatory / Island Youth Ballet, Musical Mind Studio, Music Works Northwest, Russian Chamber Music Foundation, and Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL).
Revenue raised by December 31, 2015 is just over $5 million at $5,006,945 and expenditures as of December 31, 2015 are $934,839. “Over the first two years of MICA’s existence, a majority of our disbursements have been related to the study, planning, and design of the arts facility with emphases on the resident artists and long term operational stability,” states Board of Directors officers Peter Hutt, Treasurer, and Dirk van der Burch, Comptroller. “Disbursements were covered by early donations leaving a comfortable level of liquidity for the organization as we enter 2016.”
MICA also debuts Friends of MICA in the Annual Report 2015. Friends of MICA is a new program enabling anyone to immediately support and get involved in the Center for the Arts. Individuals, businesses, and nonprofit groups are invited to join the founding group of Friends of MICA. All Friends of MICA will be invited to an annual meeting and an annual Friends appreciation event, and will receive a monthly e-newsletter with program and event information and project updates.
MICA’s Annual Report 2015 also highlights general information and facts on the central issues to the project including: economic impact, location, facility, and sustainable operating model. MICA has created several resources to provide detailed information and updates on the conception and planning for the Center for the Arts. Readers can obtain information on frequently asked questions by visiting MercerIslandArts.org/FAQ or by visiting the MICA office at 7710 SE 29th St. Questions can also be emailed to askMICA@MercerIslandArts.org.
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.