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.
Imagine: You open the doors to the Mercer Island Center for the Arts, what will you see and hear? A group of nine and ten-year-olds learning the words to "So Long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music; A watercolor art class meets to work on paintings for an upcoming show; while the sounds of the Russian Chamber Music Foundation waft down the hall.
Mercer Island Center for the Arts is excited to announce the release of our Annual Report 2016 to every household in the Mercer Island community. "Together we are bringing to life a Center for the Arts that embodies the creativity, inspiration, and imagination of the Mercer Island Community and is a symbol of our partnership,” said Prady Misra, Campaign Chair. This report focuses on how art connects our community and positively impacts the lives of all Islanders. From All Island Band Night, summer's Mostly Music in the Park, Shakespeare in the Park, and our thriving Farmers Market — the arts are abundant on Mercer Island.
The Arts Connect Us – with art, with ideas, with each other.
The 2016 Annual Report begins with a heartfelt letter by President John Gordon Hill – a stalwart of the project. He paints the vision of a dynamic arts center where artists will build their knowledge and share their inspiration; a place where children will learn and students will grow, where locals and visitors alike can take in an art show, listen to panel discussions, participate in workshops, or learn to dance. Mercer Island School District artist-in-residence Sandy Glass states "The Mercer Island Center for the Arts will be a dynamic destination where artists can share and create. A hub that brings arts and education together on our Island is positive and community building.”
Upon further reading, you will discover MICA's participation throughout community events, key details on building the arts center, steps MICA has taken to begin the campaign, and partner organizations MICA regularly supports. To highlight local organizations and their events on the island, MICA’s Arts Calendar was conceived to aggregate island arts events. If you’re looking for a local arts event, or if you would like to submit an event, please visit www.mercerislandarts.org/calendar.
2016 was the beginning of the Friends of MICA program; a way for people to support and get involved with the Center for the Arts immediately. The program garnered enthusiastic support from Islanders If you aren’t one yet, everyone is invited to become a Friend: businesses, individuals, and other non-profits. Visit the MICA website at www.mercerislandarts.org/friends or call 206-715-7671.
Much of 2016's expenditures were related to permitting and regulatory preparations (SEPA) necessary to build the center. MICA anticipated securing the lease by spring of 2016, thereby beginning the campaign in 2017. Due to the lengthy and complex nature of the regulatory process, MICA delayed the commencement of the capital campaign.
The Annual Report 2016 concludes with a look to the future with the newly formed Students of MICA, led by a group of talented Mercer Island High Schoolers. Look for them this summer at the many Island arts events MICA will be supporting.
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.