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New Arts Center envisioned for Willoughby Avenue District
Published: 02/14/2013 12:50:00
Conceptual plans for a new Willoughby Arts Center have been released and the idea has generated a lot of excitement, located between the existing Juneau Arts and Culture Center and Centennial Hall, the building would house both the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council and Perseverance Theatre, creating a vibrant core for the Arts in downtown Juneau. We spoke with Nancy DeCherney, the Executive Director of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, to learn more about the project.

"We have been thinking about doing an expansion to the JACC for quite some time, we started planning for that last year, the city and borough has a comprehensive plan that designates this area as the cultural section of the town. As Perseverance began to look at their theatre needs and the fact that it needs to be replaced, they had looked at various different options; they had a theater consultant come in. It just seemed like it made a whole lot of sense for us to make one building that houses all of the arts in the community and put it right here."

Art Rotch, the Artistic Director of Perseverance Theatre said;

"We've been talking for a long time, I mean almost as long as I can remember working at the theater about what the building should be and what we would want it to be because the building that we're in was built as a temporary solution back in the early 80's. And cut a long story short but we came around to this idea because it just makes more sense to build one theater building in Juneau than two."

Nancy DeCherney expanded the conversation to touch on what the site could include;

"Among the ideas that we have is to not just have the theaters and the office space, that sort of stuff, we want to have a restaurant, we want to have a little bar, we're also thinking about housing and perhaps office space available to the public. "

Art Rotch then explained the next step in the process of making it a reality;

"So where we are right now is looking for time and money to do more work on the design so we can really flesh out what that building's going to have inside it and what it'd look like and what that theater will be for perseverance."

By: Rik Pruett -