Excitement builds for arts center

Posted 7/23/10

More than one year out from its official opening, anticipation is growing as the Lone Tree Arts Center takes shape. The 500-seat performing arts …

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Excitement builds for arts center


More than one year out from its official opening, anticipation is growing as the Lone Tree Arts Center takes shape.

The 500-seat performing arts facility has been under construction southeast of Lincoln Avenue and RidgeGate Parkway since March and remains on pace for a grand opening in late August 2011. Ground work has been laid, and the taxpayer-funded arts center is about 30 percent complete, said Seth Hoffman, assistant city manager for Lone Tree.

The $21 million complex will be home to the Lone Tree Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Stage Company and Passport to Culture events. Several theater and dance groups already are approaching officials about scheduling events there in fall and winter 2011, said Lisa Rigsby Peterson, executive director of the Lone Tree Arts Center.

Recently, the city released a press announcement entitled “Lone Tree Arts Center Adds Fire to the Local Economy and Ignites Passion for the Arts” that touted the expected economic impact of the center on surrounding businesses.

The Lincoln Commons retail area around the arts center is quickly growing: Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill already have opened, and other shops are slated for an opening in the coming months. Apartments and townhomes are under construction south of the venue.

The Lone Tree Cultural Arts Foundation has teamed with the center for a capital campaign that will raise up to $2 million for more intricate amenities. Instead of a modest outdoor stage, ground-level seating, and a grass-seating area, organizers hope to give the terrace theater a “more formal finish,” Rigsby Peterson said.

“For the improved plan, there would be formalized seating on the lawn, and the theater would be sunken in to provide a more intimate feeling,” she said. There also would be a wall behind the stage and lush landscaping surrounding the outdoor stage.

The capital campaign group is hoping to purchase an orchestra shell that will surround the musicians and maximize the sound for the audience, and use money to expand a special garden entryway on the south side of the property.

The indoor theater will feature multidisciplinary events; Rigsby Peterson is open to everything from concerts to dance performances to theater shows and everything in between. The venue will be available for rental to outside groups for private special events and community celebrations.

The director said “a lot of pent-up demand” will keep the Lone Tree Arts Center busy for a long duration, and the excitement in the community has prompted questions from the public about where to find tickets for the first performances.

“There is a lot of interest out there,” Rigsby Peterson said. “There are families in this area that are looking forward to having something to call their own.”

The centralized location of the center and proximity to two major highways “compels us to be regional,” although Lone Tree residents will feel “it’s like a jewel box in your backyard,” she said.

Once crews are finished with the majority of exterior work, construction this winter will focus on the inside of the complex. Last week, workers began framing the multipurpose room with a flexible theater, meeting room and banquet space. Public tours of the construction site are planned for later this year, but specific dates have not been finalized.

City officials are collaborating with the Town of Parker, which is building a similar arts center in its downtown district.

For more information about the progress on the Lone Tree Arts Center, visit www.lonetreearts.org or www.cityoflonetree.com.


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