Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need an arts center on MI if we have all the neighboring centers?

To serve the MI community! MI families, kids, and adults. MICA aims to provide performance and practice spaces and necessary services to our unique and long-standing arts organizations, artists and our community members. Art Centers outside of MI don’t build our community, and many MI residents want to have all the services and benefits on the Island.

Many communities have an arts center like they do schools, parks, etc. If you think of an AC as just performances, you miss the larger mission of how an arts center meets multiple needs in a community. MI has specific needs that are not being met. A dedicated space for the arts, a place to come together as a community, and an incubator for artists, students, businesses, and a vibrant town center.

On Mercer Island itself, there isn’t a facility of sufficient performance quality, as it is, to host high-quality performers, speakers, talks, etc.

Why did 2/3 of the founding Board decide to roll off?

The founding board worked incredibly hard to create a vision, mission, and organization to support arts and culture on MI for years. They recognized that it is now time for MICA to move from a founding board to the next generation board, to expand outreach, influence, ideas, and increase the viability of the project.

What sites are you considering?

We will work with the city to explore any and all potential sites in a reasonable timeframe. It goes without saying that viability of each possible site will be assessed against a set of variables to make sure the most suitable one is picked. No site will be without challenges.

When do you expect to start Fundraising?

We continue to fundraise for ongoing operational needs. The formal capital campaign can only be started once a site has been secured and enough preliminary design work completed based on learnings from Community Engagement Process to make reasonable cost estimates. Having said that most of the board members and several community members have already made pledges towards eventual capital campaign.

How many donors do you have?

Approximately 290 individuals, families, students, and seniors have become Friends of MICA and 155 families and individuals have made gifts and pledges

How much money have you raised so far, from former gifts, etc?

We have raised just over $5 million so far without starting a full-fledged capital campaign which is predicated on having secured a site for the art center. This strong early support means we have the means to fund the majority of our campaign expenses and our current operation is solid for the foreseeable future.

Will there be any costs to city after the capital campaign?

No – the operating pro forma is created without any CIty subsidizing

How much support do you expect from the City?

The primary help we need is in securing a viable, suitable site and community leadership on the process. We’re a nonprofit that supports the community, we can’t do it alone. This is only going to work if the City partners with us to serve the MI community and meet its needs just like it does for other venues that serve the Island (PEAK, sports fields, MICEC, etc).

The City can’t put in money, I don’t support putting in money.

We don’t currently expect them to – either in the campaign or in the annual operating expenses once built. We have a robust financial model for annual operating budgets already done that will need to be updated for a new site and design

Why can’t you build on top of MI Community and Event Center at Mercer View?

A feasibility study was done in 2013 assessing Mercerdale and MICEC. MICEC had a number of cons, like parking, conflict with existing programs at the center, and lack of visibility. However, we are open to any and all suitable sites.

What kind of tax impact will MICA have to MI City?

A positive one – MICA will generate business income tax through the economic benefits that an arts center brings to a CIty – in addition to adding value to the community, therefore increasing home values, quality of life and resident satisfaction. Even more tangibly, a new MICA would inject millions of dollars into the local economy through its own spending and via patrons at local businesses, etc

What about YTN? What’s the current relationship between MICA and YTN?

Very good, we are in constant communication with them. We are working very hard to keep YTN and all of its programming, audiences, and rich tradition on MI.

What if YTN moves off the Island? Then we don’t need MICA?

If the Council does not take action and YTN leaves then we’ve lost an over 30-year institution that has served thousands of MI youth. Let’s not deal with hypotheticals but we know the outcome would be bad for the Island no matter how it impacts MICA. Yes, MICA is viable with or without YTN, we’ve made that case, but let’s get to work on coming up with the right solution for all parties now.

Do you have a question that’s not answered here? Email us at AskMICA@mercerislandarts.org.