When completed, just in time for Utah Shakespeare Festival season, the center will include a state of the art museum and two new performance theatres.
On May 10 members of the Cedar City Chamber of Commerce were invited to take a special tour of the center. The tour was guided by newly hired Sponsorships and Special Events Coordinator Justin Jorgensen and Ben Johnson, director of construction services at Southern Utah University, who is partnering with the project. They explained many of the state of the art features of each location, while also answering questions.
They began with the Southern Utah Museum of Art, which has a very unique shape.
“The building itself is a sculpture,” said Johnson, referring to the curves and dips found throughout the facility, which are patterned after the slot canyons Southern Utah is famous for.
Outside the SUMA is a large patio that will be used for special events including weddings. Inside the SUMA, several artists will be able to display their creative creations, which will be protected by a completely climate controlled environment. Another unique feature to the museum is that SUU Masters of Fine Arts students will have a place to restore and repair art pieces from behind glass walls so the public can watch them at work. There is also a special climate-controlled vault and a ceiling built strong enough to carry the weight of a small aircraft, should an artist feel the need for his or her work to truly soar.
The SUMA will also be community education friendly with classrooms for visiting students as well as creating a special night each week for families to come participate in various art activities.
Shakespeare aficionados will enjoy plays in the new Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, patterned after the original “Wooden O” theatre made famous by Shakespeare himself and of course the beloved Adams Theater.
The Engelstad is built to be more sturdy and safe, including better ADA access and an elevator. It boasts a larger stage, more seating and even an air-conditioned back stage for the actors. Surrounding the Engelstad, there will be beautiful trees, vegetation, a sculpture garden and a special place for spectators to enjoy the traditional Greenshow activities.
Besides having state-of-the-art buildings, the center is also energy efficient and green friendly. Visitors will feel they have been transported back in time, while still having access to modern-day facilities.
“It’s a little Elizabethan, but it’s also Eliza-modern,” said Jorgensen, who added, “This is a site that’s built for the community and that’s what’s most important to us.”
Public tours and the grand opening of the Beverly Center for the Arts will begin July 7. A special family friendly day will take place on July 8 and a USF gala kick-off, with fireworks, will be July 9. For more information, visit www.bard.org.