A downtown Frederick building will come alive again as a performing arts center in 2015.
The building, which fronts at both 15 N. Market and 15 W. Patrick streets, will eventually host performances and performing arts education.
The building began as a dry goods store in 1892 and became a McCrory's dime store in 1910. In most residents' memory, the building housed the Cultural Arts Center. Now, the building will become a creative space for the community.
The 15 Square Arts Project, named for the two entrances of the building, is being funded by $1.5 million from the Ausherman Family Foundation.
An initial assessment was made in August with community interviews, said Carrie Delente, chairwoman of 15 Square Arts Project. Consultant Duncan Webb talked with people in the arts community, as well as corporate representatives, to see what the need was for such a center.
Webb found a definite need in the community for a performing arts center, as well as for corporate users as a place for meetings or other events.
On a visit to the building, Delente and Dan Shykind, a member of the project's executive committee, said physical renovations need to be done, including removing the walls that had been erected to create a theater area.
"It will be open for flexible seating," Shykind said. "We could have two events going on at the same time, depending on noise and access."
Delente said the initial focus will be on performing arts education for the community, providing an opportunity for all types of arts to be included.
Other initiatives include the changing face of art in relation to technology; a partnership with the Weinberg Center for the Arts across the street; and a place corporate entities could rent.
"Downtown Frederick has been revitalized; we need to revitalize this building," Shykind said. The building has about 12,000 square feet on the main floor and another 9,000 square feet in the basement.
The ultimate goal is to make the center sustainable.
An open house is set 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the site with Webb to show the building and get input from the community about ideas for the project.
Marvin Ausherman said he and his wife, Lisa, love the performing arts and believe this is a great project for downtown Frederick.
"The Frederick community is ready to grow in arts," Ausherman said.
He said the 15 Square Project is not in competition with the Weinberg Center for the Arts.
"The Weinberg Center has performing arts, speakers, musicals; we love going there," Ausherman said. "We have been and will continue to be supporters of the Weinberg."
Ausherman said 15 Square will focus on performing arts.
"We have the Delaplaine (Visual Arts Education Center), and that is great," Ausherman said. "We don't want to do what they are doing."
The 15 Square building could have a theater or classrooms for dance classes. "It will be a flexible space," Ausherman said.
The Ausherman Family Foundation is known for its support of charitable and community organizations and programs.
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