City receives update on plans for Electric Theater; STGnews Videocast

ST. GEORGE – This week, St. George city officials were given a review of the goals and purpose behind the Electric Theater, as well as initial ideas of how it may be maintained once open. Still under construction and renovation, the facility is anticipated to be largely completed by the end of May.

Since the City of St. George purchased the Electric Theater and three adjacent building over two years ago, $3 million has been allocated to the building for the purpose of turning it into one of the anchors of the downtown arts district.

The idea is for it to become an attraction that draws people downtown and emphasizes the arts,” Kent Perkins, the city’s director of Leisure Services, said Friday.

Other mainstays of the city’s developing art district include the St. George Children’s Museum and the St. George Opera House, he said.

In addition to becoming a potential draw for the downtown area, the Electric Theater is also slated to be a place where various nonprofit art groups can rent space for performances, galleries, workshops, educational programs, artist studios, administrative needs, storage and so forth. The facility will offer 18,000 square feet of usable space once completed.

During a St. George City Council work meeting Thursday, Perkins presented the council with a preliminary concept of the city’s proposed role in maintaining the Electric Theater as well as supporting its tenants.

In addition to providing rental space for various visual and performance-based artists and arts groups and maintaining the look and feel of the facility, the city will also supply tech support for performances and possibly assist in marketing needs.

City staff and arts groups would also work together to create and maintain a full calender of activities at the Electric Theater.

The city will also be able to run some of its own community programs and workshops out of the Electric Theater, Perkins said.

In addition to becoming a sustainable operation, overall goals for the facility include promoting cooperation between local art groups, building continued community support for the arts, and supporting existing and emerging artists.

The No. 1 goal is to make it a sustainable operation,” Perkins said Friday.

Funding for the Electric Theater is anticipated to come from the rental fees collected from tenants, programs held at the facility, leasing out space for performances, fees charged for tech support, and the recently implemented RAP tax.

“This is just so exciting,” Councilwoman Bette Ariel said during Thursday’s meeting, adding she liked the emphasis on supporting local artists and arts groups.

Bobbi Wan-Kier, director of the annual Arts to Zion studio tour, attended the council meeting.

“The idea there’s a hub for (the arts) is exciting … I’m excited about the potential,” she said.

If implemented right, the Electric Theater could make St. George more of an arts destination, said Paul Jensen, a board member of the Southern Utah Arts Guild.

“When people see what’s going on in there, they’ll be blown away,” he said.

Once the Electric Theater is completed, the idea of a soft opening was suggested to the City Council, with a grand opening event possibly slated for the fall.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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11 Comments

  • fun bag May 2, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    throwing good cash at trash buildings…what logic

  • RobertCurl May 2, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    As much as I love St. George the art scene their is profoundly dismal, though I see this as a step (of many, many, many, many steps) in the right direction.

  • beentheredonethat May 3, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Good holsum movies and paintings of the temple everywhere!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait.

    • Free Parking May 4, 2015 at 2:22 am

      I’m sure there will be paintings of all Warren Jeffs weddings

  • laytonian May 3, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    What kind of “art district” will this be?
    More pap aimed at the “family” audience too cheap to do anything but throw money at Tuacahn’s retread musicals?

    How about showing some good independent films for adults. There is no other venue within miles.

    • BIG GUY May 3, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      IMHO, government has no proper role in the arts. Your comment exemplifies exactly why government shouldn’t spend taxpayer money for visual or performing art or art venues. You complain about family audience “pap.” A majority of citizens would complain about “good independent films for adults.” Controversy will always surround government-supported art. I have opposed the Electric Theater boondoggle and the RAP tax for this reason.
      .
      If there is an audience for “Tuacahn’s retread musicals,” so be it. (I do not know about Tuacahn’s financial backing, but I hope my tax dollars aren’t supporting it.) And if there is an audience for “good independent films for adults,” let an entrepreneur open a venue. Let patrons support the arts, not tax dollars.

      • sagemoon May 4, 2015 at 8:24 am

        I agree with you for once, Big Guy.

    • Free Parking May 4, 2015 at 2:44 am

      Oh there will be independent films for adults.. but the films will be for Mormon Adults.. I was told in one of the films someone said Dang It.! and the film was banned in Utah

  • mmsandie May 3, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    The money should have been used for education.. There are too many art galleries… And NO parking.. Get real…. No one wants to go downtown,, except those who sit in town square, watching little kids in water and transients clean up

  • notasgnative May 3, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    I agree with BIG GUY. It makes me angry to be taxed for “art” when the coffers don’t have enough money to fund educational projects, or other community needs that would benefit all residents.

  • Free Parking May 4, 2015 at 2:46 am

    They can’t spare money for education it’s put in a Temple Maintenance fund

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