Should Hutchinson transform the State Theater into a public space for artistic performance? | Local

Hutchinson as an artistic destination? It was a radical idea in 2011. Since then, the community has embraced its creative roots and expanded its offerings of music, theater, exhibitions, sculpture, comedy and more.

Just like good shops and restaurants, parks and trails, cultural tourism brings money to the local economy. How much? Minnesota Citizens for the Arts was commissioned in 2018 to conduct a Minnesota Creative Study, which found that the combined economic impact of nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences is $2.2 million annually. . This includes $1 million spent by non-profit arts organizations and $1.2 million spent by 61,896 participants.

Local art lovers have always dreamed of Hutchinson having its own dedicated performance space. To help assess the feasibility and cost of this idea, the City of Hutchinson engaged Artspace, the nation’s leading nonprofit developer of affordable spaces for artists and arts organizations. The good envisaged? The State Theater in downtown Hutchinson. Cost of the study: $11,500.

At 4 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8, Artspace Consulting will present its findings during a workshop at Hutchinson City Center, 111 Hassan St. SE. The public is invited to attend in person or watch it from home on HCVN. To link to attend virtually, email City Administrator Matt Jaunich at [email protected]

If you’re wondering why the city would investigate a chimera, there are practical reasons behind the investigation, including revitalizing downtown, preserving historic buildings, promoting tourism, and supporting creative businesses.

The project was launched last summer when Artspace consultants Wendy Holmes, Senior Vice President, and Naomi Marx, Quantitative Analyst, hosted virtual focus groups to better understand how theatrical space fits into current community priorities and to hear from local leaders about any ideas they might have. have for its potential use.

Various uses were proposed by enthusiastic participants. Ideas ranged from a concert hall and black box theater to conference/event space, a bookstore/café, and space for non-profit organizations and working artist studios.

Using this information along with other research, Artspace Consultants came up with a plan that calls for converting the main cinema hall into a multi-purpose theater and live performance venue while retaining the ability to show films. It also retains the building’s four existing apartments, with the possible conversion of the second-floor theater into two additional apartments, as well as the development of vacant space adjacent to the residents’ lobby into a café.

The plan, which will be further detailed and in context during the workshop, is available for review at ci.hutchinson.mn.us/city-council/. The consultants should also address the acquisition of the building.