Vancouver Performing Arts Organizations Rely On Found Spaces

May, 26 2022

Kiggins Theatre

Friends and Artists,

One cannot deny that Vancouver, Washington is one of the fastest growing communities in the Unites States, and has recently experienced a renaissance both culturally and economically with the revitalization of the downtown waterfront. World-class cuisine, internationally recognized vintners, and the river-front promenade attract visitors and locals alike, but begs the question: what else is there to do after dinner and a walk?

Any other major metropolitan community would answer this question with a recommendation to take in the local performing arts. The fourth largest city in the state, however, lacks a dedicated facility for live performance.

Not since the early years of the 20th century have the residents of Vancouver constructed a facility specifically suited for enjoying live performance, apart from facilities included in the school system. With the transition from Vaudeville to cinema, the city neglected to invest in a dedicated performing arts venue as the years of the century rolled by.

Residents became complacent with the idea of travelling to Portland to enjoy touring Broadway productions, dance, opera, and symphonic works in one of that city's FIVE dedicated public performing arts venues (The Keller Auditorium, The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, The Newmark Theater, The Winningstad Theatre, and Brunnish Hall). In addition to these civic spaces, many Portland performing arts groups are fortunate enough to present in their own spaces, such as BodyVox Dance, The Lakewood Theatre Company, and Broadway Rose Theatre Company. Vancouver's only non-educational performing arts organization with its own space remains Magenta Theater, only after years of performing in a local church.

Churches. Hotel lobbies. Converted historic homes. Vacant shops in strip-malls. Movie theaters. High-rental-fee public school auditoriums. These have become the options for local performing arts organizations. With no alternatives to accommodate large touring productions, SW Washington residents are forced to put their entertainment dollars into the Portland economy should they wish to enjoy visiting world-class artists. While the Vancouver school system does offer an amazing venue in Skyview Auditorium, the experience of attending a world-class symphony in a high school auditorium doesn't scream date night.

The Southwest Washington Center for the Arts hopes to shed light on this issue by presenting the PNW local, nationally recognized "Liberace & Liza: A Tribute" at Kiggins Theatre this upcoming Wednesday, June 1st at 7 PM. It may seem odd to present a one-night only performance in the middle of the work-week, but these are the limitations our local performing artists face by being forced to explore found spaces to present their craft. The Kiggins Theatre has been very supportive to the local arts scene by making their facility accessible to performing arts groups, with the understanding that availability for one of downtown Vancouver's largest non-educational auditoriums is relegated to evenings when films are not showing at the historic single screen movie house.

This is the time for the residents of Southwest Washington to recognize that our community is lacking a cultural hub, a facility that can support local performing arts organizations and expose our citizens to performances from across the globe. The Southwest Washington Center for the Arts is working diligently to make this a reality by bringing a privately funded, world-class venue equipped with a main auditorium seating 1250+ patrons, and a flexible performance space seating up to 300 that could accommodate the needs of our local arts groups that are currently reliant on found spaces. Flexible event spaces, rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, dining, and art exhibition spaces are also included in the forecasted design of the 60,000 square foot facility. We appreciate the support of the community as we explore possible locations for the venue.

To help make this a reality, please sign and share our petition that will illustrate to city leaders that our community is invested in the arts. Financial gifts toward the project may be made here.

We hope to see you all at Kiggins Theatre June 1st!

And Now For This Week’s Top Picks…

La Fiesta

La Fiesta - Clark College Concert Band

Dr. Doug Harris directs the Concert Band in "La Fiesta" on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, 7:30 pm at VSAA, Durst Theatre. The program centerpiece is Clifton Williams "Symphonic Dance No 3 "Fiesta." Other works include JP Sousa's Thunderer March, Ira Hearshen's Symphony on themes of JP Sousa (The Thunderer), a wind symphony arrangement of Bach's Prelude and Fugue in Bb Major, Liszt's Friska, and Robert Jager's Variations on a Theme of Robert Schumann. VSAA Durst Theatre 3101 Main St, Vancouver 98663 Wednesday, June 1, 2020 7:30 PM Free


Art On The Boulevard Presents "Passages"

Art on the Boulevard will open Mitch Baird’s solo show “Passages” on June 3rd . When traveling the world, passageways entice exploration of the unknown and these ‘passages’ become the inspiration to something new on the other side. Mitch’s new show is a concentration of works related to the passageways throughout Italy. Art On The Boulevard 210 W Evergreen Blvd Vancouver 98660 June 3rd - July 30th Free

Piano Bar

Piano Bar Cabaret at Main Event -VDA First Friday Art Walk

Are you ready for your time to SHINE? The SW WA center for the Arts teams up with Main Event to bring you an evening of song during the June 3rd First Friday Art Walk! Join local Songstress Courtney Freed and Pacific Northwest legendary pianist David Saffert as they host a good old fashioned PIANO BAR at Main Event from 6 -8 PM. You are invited to sing your favorite tune (bring sheet music), or sit back and enjoy the talent and dinner or drinks. Don't miss this rare opportunity to experience this musical magic in Vancouver! Family friendly and open to the public. Main Event 800 Main Street, Vancouver 98660 Friday, June 3, 2022 6 PM - 8 PM Free

Ginger & The Tonics

Ginger & The Tonics Live At Trusty Brewing Co. - VDA First Friday Art Walk

The SW WA Center for the Arts presents Ginger & The Tonics at Trusty Brewing Co. as part of the Vancouver Downtown Association's First Friday Art Walk! Ginger & The Tonics features local hot jazz favorites Heather Lynn on vocals, Twayn Williams on guitar, and Patrick Harry on double bass, presenting an eclectic mix of prewar swing! Grab a pint at Vancouver's favorite brewery and take in this hot trio! Free and all ages. Trusty Brewing Co. 114 E. Evergreen Blvd Vancouver, WA 98660 Friday, June 3, 2022 6PM - 8 PM Free *PLEASE NOTE, BROADWAY IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION, BUT THE ENTERANCE TO TRUSTY IS OPEN ON THE EVERGREEN (SOUTH) SIDE.

Same Time Next Year

Same Time Next Year at Magenta Theater

A wonderful, nostalgic, whimsical, touching, funny, and moving look at 25 years of American culture, through the lives of two lovers who meet once a year for a romantic weekend. The plot follows a love affair between two people, Doris and George, married to others, who rendezvous once a year. Twenty-five years of manners and morals are hilariously and touchingly played out by the lovers. Magenta Theater 1108 Main Street, Vancouver 98660 June 10 - June 26, 2022 $20