Patch Staff Report
The Woodruff Arts Center, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta announced Thursday an agreement designed to create long-term, positive benefits for artists, the arts and Atlanta’s creative community.
The Woodruff Arts Center has agreed to sell the 14th Street Playhouse, located at the corner of 14th
and Juniper Streets, to SCAD for $1.9 million.
The expansion will support SCAD's higher education mission and growing enrollment, and will particularly complement SCAD’s internationally-renowned M.A. and M.F.A. film and television degree programs, which debuted in Atlanta in the fall of 2013.
This new academic facility advances SCAD's legacy of urban stewardship
in Atlanta. The university’s previous revitalization projects include
the award-winning historic Peters House and the former WXIA television
studio. The purchase of the 14th
Street Playhouse continues the university’s partnership with the
Woodruff Arts Center.
SCAD’s 84,000-square-foot student residence hall is located on the grounds of the Woodruff Arts Center. The 150-bed facility, designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, also includes SCAD’s professionally-equipped sculpture studio.
Proceeds from the sale after expenses will be used by the Woodruff Arts
Center to invest in the arts in Atlanta in a variety of ways. First,
The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta will receive $1 million
from the Woodruff Arts Center following the sale
of the 14th Street
Long known for its commitment to metro Atlanta’s arts organizations, the Community Foundation will create and steward a new fund serving performing arts organizations with a focus on theater and dance companies, reflecting the types of organizations that historically performed at the 14th Street Playhouse. The intent of this new fund, to be rolled out in late 2014, is to provide financial grants to nonprofit performing arts organizations and/or performance venues to help offset costs incurred to rent performance spaces.
The remaining proceeds will be used by the Woodruff Arts Center to
design programs with local artists across multiple artistic
disciplines. An example is the recently launched Artists’ Lab, a
program of the Alliance Theatre. The Artists’ Lab project was created
to encourage collaboration between Atlanta artists in developing new
work. In its inaugural year in 2013, the project attracted more than 60
proposals from 200 artists looking to tap into the creative resources
and artistic talent at the Alliance as well
as to capitalize upon financial and facility support.
Other work to be supported by this funding will be determined in the future by Woodruff Arts Center leadership.
The 14th Street Playhouse was gifted to the Woodruff Arts Center in 1991 when prior owners faced financial issues. The property, which houses three theaters of different sizes, has been leased periodically by various organizations in recent years, but not on a continuing basis.
“Using the proceeds of this agreement in this way speaks directly to the mission of the Woodruff Arts Center and is consistent with the original intent of the gift of the property,” Virginia Hepner, President and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center said in a news release. “It’s good stewardship of a community asset and the right thing to do for the arts.
“It’s an added bonus that the Playhouse will become part of SCAD, already a great partner with the Woodruff Arts Center and a key contributor to the vibrant arts and creative community in Midtown. We're delighted to see the 14th Street Playhouse pass into the college's capable hands.”
“SCAD and The Woodruff Arts Center are mainstays of the Atlanta arts community, and we are proud to create the next chapter in the story of the 14th Street Playhouse, which will benefit SCAD students and Atlantans for decades to come,” SCAD President and Cofounder Paula Wallace said in the release. “Atlanta’s metropolitan environment is home to top networks within the ninth largest television market in the U.S., and expanding SCAD’s footprint in Midtown Atlanta enhances our ability to connect students with the audiences and industry experts that will help to realize graduates’ creative careers.”
“The Community Foundation has been invested in, and committed to, strengthening the region’s arts organizations for 20 years,” Alicia Philipp, president of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, remarked in the release. “I thank the Woodruff Arts Center for this opportunity to create a new fund and grant program that will enable us to help performing arts organizations increase their financial capacity to perform a wide range of work in a variety of venues throughout our 23-county metro Atlanta region. I hope this will help provide increased access to our region’s great arts community to new audiences in new places.”
The Woodruff Arts Center and SCAD are accommodating organizations that have previously confirmed events at the Playhouse.