Live Arts Contemporary PACPhiladelphia, PA
The Live Arts Contemporary Performing Arts Center will be built into an historic pumping station, capitalizing on the new James Corner-designed Race Street Pier Park to reactivate Philadelphia’s waterfront and creating a year-round presence for the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe.
Dan Comly of Philadelphia Live Arts brings us up-to-date on their progress:
Several months ago, Live Arts decided that if it truly wants to create the best conditions for artists to make new work, while providing the community with thrilling, cutting-edge contemporary arts performance all year round, it needs a new home. As previously reported here and here, Live Arts is turning an historic High Pressure Fire Service building along the burgeoning Delaware River waterfront into that destination.
The project team joins the forces of Gabe Canuso of D³ Development (Owner Representative and Development Manager), Antonio Fiol-Silva of Wallace Roberts and Todd (Architect), Nick Stuccio of Live Arts (Producing Director), Carolyn Schlecker of Live Arts (Managing Director), and other staff and board members. Recently, the team has completed the comprehensive schematic design for the facility, which features:
• a 225-seat theater with flexible seating;
• a rehearsal studio for artistic development;
• a restaurant/bar with a commercial kitchen;
• a professional office and meeting space for administrative headquarters;
• an outdoor plaza for performances and audience interaction;
• and a permanent Festival hub.
The team has reached several other significant milestones, including an agreement of sale with the City of Philadelphia, a detailed construction budget, the striking of Old Race Street for Live Arts’ use for an outdoor plaza, approval from the Philadelphia Historical Commission for alterations to the building, and applying to the PLCB for a liquor license.
The project will create a permanent home for Live Arts, to facilitate unprecedented activity and operations for the organization. By nature, this undertaking is a challenge to design a brand new facility that suits Live Arts’ vision, programmatic needs, and budget, and to garner the necessary support and funding. As with most collaborative projects, it is another challenge to moderate and synthesize many ideas into one strong and effective project plan.
What we have learned
The most rewarding thing about this collaboration is hearing everyone’s excitement in the room. The more ideas that come out of a discussion, the more invested we feel each team member is in finding the most ideal solution. The team brings a diverse set of personalities, perspectives, and expertise that does much more to help the realization of the project than anything else.
We are very appreciative of the support we’ve received for the project from the City of Philadelphia, civic associations, and individuals. Aside from the exciting nature of the project itself, we attribute this in part to the leadership of our Producing Director Nick Stuccio, whose energy and enthusiasm manifests itself in our communications about the project and has the power to rally support. We have found this to be a crucial asset as we continue to garner the support and funding this project needs to be realized.