TheatreSquared announces $12.5 million in funding toward new home
Grants include Design Excellence funding and a major challenge grant toward construction
See the plans online at ournextstage.org
NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — January 17, 2017 — TheatreSquared Executive Director Martin Miller and Artistic Director Robert Ford announced today $12.5 million in pacesetting grants from the Walton Family Foundation toward the design and construction of its future permanent home. The total includes a new major grant of nearly $9 million in funding to be released when T2 and the Northwest Arkansas community successfully satisfy a 1:2 fundraising challenge towards the building's construction. Just over $3.5 million was awarded through the foundation's Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program to support the building's design — now in final stages, with renderings released at ournextstage.org.
"These significant commitments are an incredible affirmation of the path ahead," said T2 Executive Director Martin Miller today before assembled civic leaders at the winter meeting of the Northwest Arkansas Council.
"We are humbled and inspired," added T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford.
Generations of Northwest Arkansans who attend performances in TheatreSquared’s new facility will enjoy a transformative arts experience – enhancing our region’s high quality of life and vibrant sense of place,” said Walton Family Foundation Home Region Program Director Karen Minkel. “We look forward to Fayetteville and the Northwest Arkansas community joining us to make this vision a reality."
The foundation's lead grants will serve as the cornerstone of a larger campaign that will enter its public phase in spring 2017. In advance of that date, TheatreSquared is finalizing lead commitments from major public and private funders to match the foundation's challenge and break ground this year.
Support from the Design Excellence Program helped TheatreSquared engage London-based theatre planners Charcoalblue and New York-based Marvel Architects to design the architecturally significant 50,000 square-foot theatre building. The building will unite two state-of-the-art theatres, rehearsal space, offices, education and community space, design workshops, eight dedicated guest artist apartments, and an open-all-day café/bar at the active corner of West & Spring. Outdoor areas on each level — a patio on Spring Street, a second-level terrace on West, and a rooftop deck — reinforce the organization's ethos of transparency to the community.
The main theatre space will enhance the company's trademark intimate relationship between the audience and artists. "I’m proud to say that this is one of the most intimate, yet immersive theatre spaces Charcoalblue has yet designed," said senior project manager Clem Abercrombie."
Plans for a new home began to take form in early 2015, when the TheatreSquared Board charged a special community task force to recommend a long-term facilities plan for the company. The task force made a strong recommendation, which was then unanimously approved by the T2 Board: to launch an exploratory process toward building a new home.
In 2016, the Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously to approve a 100-year lease on a 0.8 acre site at the corner of West Ave. and Spring St. in downtown Fayetteville — directly across from the theatre's current venue in a converted warehouse at Walton Arts Center's Nadine Baum Studios. The site is steps from dozens of restaurants and bars, blocks from the University of Arkansas campus, and across the street from a new 250-space garage. The theatre will directly connect to the Razorback Greenway, the regional bike trail linking Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, and every stop in between.
TheatreSquared has launched a detailed website with design images, backstory, and process galleries which at ournextstage.org.