There is a strong unaddressed need on Mercer Island for space for both performances and arts education. The MICA facility would support long-standing Island arts institutions, particularly Youth Theatre Northwest, which lost its home in 2014 and is currently in temporary facilities at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Other organizations interested in using spaces at the new art center include Music Works Northwest and island-based arts organizations including the Children’s Dance Conservatory/Island Youth Ballet, Musical Mind Studio, Russian Chamber Music Foundation, and Mercer Island Visual Arts League.
For 33+ years, Youth Theatre Northwest (YTN) has been a beloved educational and cultural institution on Mercer Island serving thousands of children and families. YTN is currently operating out of interim space and is struggling to survive. Its revenues have fallen significantly because of limited seating and its workload has skyrocketed because everything must be stored between performances due to lack of space. YTN needs a permanent home to continue the amazing programming it produces every day for our kids and our community. MICA will provide that home.
MICA’s additional resident users spoke up early in the planning process and confirmed their need for such an arts center as well. MICA will provide classroom and studio space that will partially compensate for lost space for artists at the Mercer Island Community and Events Center (MICEC) and for the classrooms and studio space demolished at the old YTN facility.