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 $20 million. To date, we have received $4.4 million in cash and pledges.
We are projecting ground breaking in 2016 and a grand opening in 2017.
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.
The 350-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 100-seat Black Box Theater will be a highly configurable performance space for Youth Theatre’s smaller shows, and all manner of more intimate theatrical, dance, and experimental work. It will also open to the park for audiences seated on the grass in the summer, and to the lobby for expanded reception space.
The 120-seat Recital Hall will be acoustically tuned for concerts and recitals, celebrating Mercer Island’s vibrant musical culture and attracting the best performers regionally and nationally.
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, the Academy of Music Northwest, Music Works Northwest, Musical Mind Studio, The Children’s Dance Conservatory, the Mercer Island Visual Arts League, and others.
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 2016, 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.