Wake Forest unveils cultural arts center with opening celebration

sbarr@newsobserver.comNovember 13, 2013 

  • Want to go?

    What: “A Celebration of the Arts”

    Where: Wake Forest Renaissance Centre, 405 S. Brooks St.

    When: Nov. 14-16 (single events or all-access pass)

    Cost: $15-$75

    For more information and tickets, wakeforestnc.gov/celebration-of-the-arts.aspx.

— Town officials this week will unveil a new cultural arts center, the latest addition to downtown Wake Forest.

The Renaissance Centre is intended as a place for concerts, theatrical performances, exhibitions and classes, as a well as community events.

The town will host cultural events at the center, local arts organizations will be able to hold workshops and classes, and the public will be able to rent the facility for conferences or parties.

“We’re not putting any limitations on the things we want to do here,” said Ruben Wall, director of parks and recreation.

A three-day grand opening celebration starts Thursday and features parties, concerts and theater performances.

Pam Stevens, the center’s manager, said she hopes to draw visitors from throughout the region, especially from smaller towns that now will have easier access to a cultural arts center.

“We want it to be not just Wake Forest,” she said. “We want to bring people from all over.”

Officials also expect that the additional visitors to the town – whether they’re dropping children off for a class or enjoying an evening performance – will be a boon to downtown shops and restaurants.

The 10,000-square-foot facility can be configured in various ways, such as lecture-style seating for 300 or reception seating for 216 with a dance floor and round tables. It features a staging kitchen and bar space.

The town purchased the main building and an adjoining, smaller space earlier this year for $1.2 million. The main building, which previously housed the event facility Tuxedo Junction, has been remodeled. The second space, at about 3,000 square feet, will be used as classroom space.

The classroom building still is in use by Rejoice Community School, which will remain there until the end of June 2014.

The Board of Commissioners is expected to vote in December on the final fees and policies for the center, and bookings and community organization reservations will open soon afterward. Public rentals will begin in March.

The opening celebration includes a gala featuring the Transit Vocal Band and a “Taste of Wake Forest” on Thursday, a theater night featuring performances by Burning Coal Theatre and the Nickel Shakespeare Girls on Friday, and a performance by jazz musician Marcus Anderson on Saturday.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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