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Arts update

Press Release

In order to keep you updated, here’s the text of a press release issued today by the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Stuff in parentheses was not in the original press release:

Following eight years of planning and hard work the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, in historic downtown Suffolk (Get used to seeing that phrasing. It’s not “Suffolk” anymore, but “historic downtown Suffolk”), is very near (as opposed to remotely near?) completion.

For thousands of students, teachers and administrators, from 1922 n 1990 the old Suffolk High School holds many memories. Soon the grand new Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will be complete, and new memories will be made! (I don’t really get that. Except for a small clique of jocks and hot chicks, for most of us, high school is a horrible experience where you have acne, get bullied and judged, are incredibly self-conscious and generally made to feel like dirt by the aforementioned jocks and babes. We spend years trying to block the memories out. Hardly seems like a selling point to me, but maybe they don’t want former nerds and ugly girls coming, who knows?)

This completion marks the culmination of many hard years of work. In 1998 a task force was appointed to develop a plan for the graceful old school building. The result was a boldly innovative idea to convert the architecturally beautiful building into a full-blown cultural arts center.

Strategies were put in place and a capital campaign was launched in September of 2001. The creative adaptive-reuse of the old Suffolk High School qualified for historic tax credits, which greatly aided the renovation.

With the invaluable support of the City of Suffolk and the private sector, the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will soon be a reality. Groundbreaking took place in August of 2004.

Designed by CMSS Architects, and constructed under the leadership contractor VIRTEXCO, the Center is slated to be fully complete by the summer of 2006.

Once complete the Center will serve many people. Starting in October visual and performing Art Classes of various genres will be offered quarterly to adults, students and children. Even “Mommy and Me” programs are planned! Gallery spaces will feature year-round rotating art exhibits free to the public. The Center will also feature a state of the art 500 seat theatre (not to be confused with a mere “theater.”)

SCCA plans to produce its own outstanding Performing Arts Series. Full series details will be available early July. To serve meeting and celebration needs many spaces have been stylishly transformed into intimate meeting rooms, lobbies and an elegant ballroom. Spaces can be reserved now for business meetings, training sessions, parties, wedding receptions, Christmas parties and more. To reserve space call Jackie Cherry at 737-923-0003. In addition, the new Suffolk Center will soon have its own restaurant and caterer. The Center will also house City of Suffolk Departments of Early Childhood Development, Parks & Recreation, the Senior Center, as well as an offi ce for Senior Service for S.E. Virginia.

On July 15, the Todi MusicFest’s production of THE TRAGEDY OF CARMEN will be the first performance in the remarkable new Center. For CARMEN tickets call 397-3541. Executive Director, Michael Bollinger adds, “Our contractors and staff are working overtime to get the Center’s doors open in time for CARMEN. This performance will happen! Although, I feel our general contractor VIRTEXCO will be working on finalizing smaller details perhaps into August. We’ll be operating at 100% by our Grand Opening events this September.”

The City Ribbon-cutting ceremony, complete w with open house & free public concerts, is set for Sunday – August 20. The Suffolk Center’s Grand Opening performance, starring DIONNE WARWICK is slated for Saturday, September 30. Season Tickets Go On Sale by mid-July.