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Newport: Performing Arts Center community fundraising update

Newport Performing Arts Center

Newport Performing Arts Center

From Mark McConnell

Entertain the Future! Reaches $1 Million Mark

In 2012 the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts began a capital campaign to expand and enhance the Newport Performing Arts Center. After extensive visioning and community feedback sessions, a list of prioritized phases was developed, and “Entertain the Future!” became the name of the campaign. The name recognizes the 25-year legacy the PAC has created, and the need to keep that legacy growing for the future generations of youth, performers, and audiences that will use the building.

The ambitious $4.3 million dollar campaign is planned out in phases ending in 2018. With an initial $250,000 matching challenge from the City of Newport Tourism Facilities Grant, an amazing gift from Bill and JoAnn Barton, and many other grantors and donors, the campaign has now reached the 25% level of funding with just over $1 million dollars raised!

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The need for enhanced sound and lighting in the Alice Silverman Theatre rose to the top as the first projects to complete. The sound system and acoustics system are now in place, with the next phase of fund raising focused on lighting inside and outside of the building, as well as modern electronic event signage. The goal is to complete these phases this year. The future projects include an expanded lobby and restrooms in 2015-16. An expanded Studio Theatre, including enlarged back stage areas and rehearsal spaces on the east and west sides of the building are slated for 2017-18. A comprehensive display about the capital campaign can be found in the lobby of the PAC. You will also find information you can take home, which lists of ways you can “Play a Role @ the PAC” by donating your time, talents, or hard-earned dollars.

On the average, the PAC is home to over 170 performances each year, with 26,275 attendees, and 790 participants on stage and back-stage. Over the last 25 years more than 517,000 people have attended ticketed performances. Another 117,500 people have experienced the arts through rehearsals, school shows, community events, regional and statewide music festivals, workshops, and meetings. The PAC is the heart and soul of 12 resident presenters: three theatre companies, three dance groups, a symphony, two choral ensembles, a film series, the Oregon Coast Jazz Party, and HD Live! All of these resident companies provide a vast compliment of opportunities for hands-on learning and participation in the performing arts to people of all ages.

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One of the best ways to share the legacy of the Newport Performing Arts Center has been to bring the alumni back to perform and share their talents with their hometown supporters. The impact on the youth of our community is priceless. Years of theatre camps, dance performances, young musician workshops, musicals, and thousands of performance opportunities have created an amazing list of performers now working professionally throughout the country and world. The experience of being on stage, or back stage, has a lasting impression on all who participate even if it doesn’t lead to a career. Special thanks to Erica Brookhyser, Lady Rizo (Amelia Zirin-Brown), and Seann Branchfield for sharing their gratitude to the performing arts community and performing for us.

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Newport native Nathan Ball wrote, “Little did I know the effects the place would have on me! My appreciation for the PAC especially stems from my experiences there growing up, and I want to express my gratitude and excitement for what’s to come in future years. It’s of course not just the physical building of the Performing Arts Center that’s significant, but the community around it that makes the PAC such a valuable place for young people to learn and develop important new skills. I feel incredibly lucky to have been supported by that community, and I can’t wait to see where the current generation of legs-too-short-to-reach-the-pedals piano players (and all the other young performers) goes next!” Nathan is currently working on a series of children’s books to encourage an interest in science, “Alien in my Pocket.” Nathan has also performed on TED as a beat-boxer, and on PBS in “Design Squad” —not to mention his inventions!

The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts, a nonprofit arts organization, promotes and provides high-caliber arts experiences on the Oregon coast. Located in Newport it manages the Newport Performing Arts Center and the Newport Visual Arts Center.
For more information call 541-265-ARTS (2787), visit www.coastarts.org , or email OCCA Executive Director, Catherine Rickbone, crickbone@coastarts.org

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