Groups champing at the bit to rent new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center
Sep 23, 2019 02:44PM
● By Carl Fauver
Each day, dozens of hard hat-wearing construction workers move the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center a bit closer to looking like this artist’s rendition. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
Like a $39 million phoenix, the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center continues to rise out of the dirt and dust southeast of city hall. And as it becomes more and more visible from 5400 South and the westside belt route, inquiries about the facility are coming into Taylorsville City Hall fast and furious.
“This is one of the most exciting things to come to Taylorsville in the eight years I have been on the city council,” Councilman Ernest Burgess said. “I know lots of people have been calling the city about it already, even though it won’t open for more than a year. When we landscape the land west of the arts center also, it will be a wonderful gathering place.”
All of that is scheduled to be completed a year from now. County officials said “substantial completion” of the arts center is still on schedule for Oct. 1, 2020. That’s when interior testing of all the equipment will begin. The first public shows in the arts center are expected, starting in December 2020.
In late summer, an army of 11 Salt Lake County employees hosted an informational meeting about the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center at city hall. Leading the discussion was County Event Services Associate Director Melinda Cavallaro.
“There will be four separate areas available to rent: The main theater, the black box theater, a rehearsal and reception area, and the lobby,” Cavallaro said. “Inside each theater will be a wide variety of equipment also available to rent. Performing groups are welcome to use their own equipment. But whatever they don’t have should be available.”
While this stroll “into the weeds” may not have held much interest for the general public, it generated some feverish note-taking among representatives of several performing arts groups, including the Wasatch Theatre Company, Salt Lake Acting Company, Midvale-based Body Logic Dance and, of course, the Taylorsville Arts Council (TAC).
“As a part of the construction agreement between Taylorsville City and Salt Lake County, the city will receive 16 free dates to use any of the four areas available for rent,” said TAC Treasurer Gordon Wolf. “We hope and assume they will make most of those dates available to us. But the dates belong to the city.”
Wolf said Taylorsville Arts Council officials have already discussed how they hope to christen the new building.
“We think opening the arts center next December (2020) with a weeklong run of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ would be wonderful,” Wolf said. “That is such a crowd pleaser. But it will depend on whether we can get the dates we want.”
County officials also spelled out that clarification during their meeting. While Taylorsville does have it’s 16 rent-free dates each year, it does not enjoy a higher priority than other companies competing for space.
“There is no ‘resident company’ in the performing arts center; at least there won’t be when it first opens,” Cavallaro said. “But that could change down the road.”
In addition to the free space rental, city officials were also promised the Taylorsville Arts Council would enjoy a permanent storage area inside the new center, for some of its equipment and props. However, it is not yet clear how large that area is or whether rent will be charged.
County officials also announced during the meeting:
- A staffed ArtTix ticket office will operate out of the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center during normal business hours, selling tickets to events across the state.
- The small arts center theater will be called “Studio 5400” and will seat 50 to 212 audience members, in a variety of seating configurations.
- Alcohol will not be served during public performances but may be available for private events.
- Electronic signage will not be erected outside the building but is likely to be part of the interior signage
- Salt Lake County staff will provide event ushers, trained in emergency response and evacuation procedures.
“We know this will be such a jewel for the city,” TAC member Wolf said. “We can’t wait to use it.”
But, actually, he and everyone else will continue waiting — another 14 months. Between now and then, the outward appearance of the $39 million phoenix will continue to change slightly each day.