IVINS – Tuacahn Center for the Arts celebrated the completion of its new arts center in the only way Tuacahn knows how – with music, special effects and a gorgeous natural backdrop.
Various city and county dignitaries joined the Tuacahn board and members of the community in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday afternoon, officially opening the state-of-the-art building.
The Tuacahn Arts Center is a welcome expansion for both Tuacahn Center for the Arts and Tuacahn High School. The building houses the L. Douglas and Marion B. Smoot Gift Gallery, a bistro, the Entrada Dance Studio, additional classrooms for the high school and a space for Tuacahn’s ShowCare amenity which will offer child care service while parents enjoy Tuacahn shows.
The center will also allow Tuacahn High School to accommodate 50 more students, Tuacahn’s board of directors Vice Chairman Hyrum Smith said.
“This is very exciting,” Hyrum Smith said. “This is a huge expansion.”
Hyrum Smith and his wife Gail have been a part of Tuacahn from its inception. Construction on the original Tuacahn facility began in 1992 and was completed in 1995, Hyrum Smith said.
Though the center struggled for the first decade, it has now become a renowned destination for visitors who come to enjoy the “Broadway in the Desert” summer productions as well as a the spring and fall concert series.
For both Gail and Hyrum Smith the expansion is another wonderful part of the Tuacahn journey.
“It’s been an inspirational ride,” Gail Smith said.
The addition of the arts center is one of several upgrades that will take place at Tuacahn over the course of the next few years. The upgrades are made possible by private donors and $325,000 in annual funds committed to Tuacahn through the county’s recreation, arts and parks tax revenue as well as the transient room tax.
Washington County residents were praised throughout the ribbon-cutting ceremony for demonstrating their commitment to the arts by voting for the RAP tax; without which none of the recent improvements to Tuacahn would be possible, Tuacahn’s Executive Director of Development Jeffrey Fisher said.
“Without the RAP tax we wouldn’t be able to do all of the things we are doing now,” Fisher said. ” … The citizens of Washington County came through for Tuacahn in a big way.”
Fisher said he is excited for all the new things the arts center will make possible in Tuacahn’s future.
Construction crews broke ground on the 19,000-square-foot, two-story building in January.
Doug Watts CEO of Watts Construction – the contractor for the facility – spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony calling the finished building the end of a months-long marathon.
The ceremony, Watts said, was the reward for finishing the race.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony began with musical performances from the Tuacahn High School Madrigal Choir and Guitar Ensemble. Speakers included Dave Pugsley, the project’s architect; Watts; and Washington County Commissioner Zachary Renstrom.
The ceremony was emceed by Tuacahn board of directors Chairman Johnathan O. Hafen.
Professional vocalist Randal Keith sang a passionate rendition of “Man of La Mancha,” the title track of the Broadway production of the same name after which Renstrom and Ivins City Mayor Chris Hart cut the ribbon while confetti, shot from confetti cannons, showered attendees.
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