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Minnesota Shubert Center gets new look,
new leadership, new graphic identity

Significant positive developments for the Minnesota Shubert Performing Arts and Education Center were unveiled Tuesday evening by Artspace Projects, the Minneapolis nonprofit that is developing the new Center in downtown Minneapolis. 

A new design has been created by Miller Dunwiddie Architecture, a Minneapolis firm that specializes in historic preservation projects. It preserves the basic relationship between the Minnesota Shubert Center's two historic buildings - Hennepin Center for the Arts, built in 1888, and the Shubert Theatre, built in 1910 - and links them with a distinctive new addition. 

Among the additions prominent exterior features will be an angled glass façade framed by buff-colored terracotta that matches the color of the Shubert Theatre's terracotta. The marquee, five feet high and 33 feet long, will consist of two LED screens capable of showing videos of current attractions. Above the marquee will be a two-story stainless steel mesh tower that can be lit either from the inside or with projected images on the outside; at night, it will be a beacon of moving light on Hennepin Avenue.  

On the inside, the addition will feature a large lobby and audience amenities; a third floor event center capable of hosting a formal dinner for 300; and a glass-walled studio/classroom on the second level that will be visible from the first and third floor lobbies. The studio/classroom will be used for the Minnesota Shubert Center’s acclaimed arts education and technology program, noted Center Director Kim Motes. 

“"We are very excited by the new Miller Dunwiddie design,"” Motes said. It's beautifully and seamlessly integrates the new addition with the historic buildings on either side. Both inside and out, the addition is clean and contemporary, yet it looks like a natural extension of the Shubert.”  

Speaking at a news conference at Hennepin Center, Motes also announced that: 

The decision to bring Miller Dunwiddie to the project was a result of the Minnesota Legislature's appropriation of $1 million for the project in the 2005 bonding bill, according to Motes. 

“"That planning grant really allowed us to fire up the design process as we move toward making the Minnesota Shubert Center a reality,"” Motes said. “Over the last several years, the vision for the project has evolved and been sharpened. We now look at the Center essentially as a flagship for dance, a performance venue for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and other music groups, and a statewide model for arts education and technology.” 

“But we also feel strongly about preserving the Shubert and restoring it as a historically significant theater. For these and other reasons, we decided we needed a different architectural approach that would allow all three buildings to serve the artistic and educational goals and to create the best spaces for our artists and audiences.” 

“In addition, we are committed to staying at $37 million for the project, and with construction costs on the rise, we knew that we needed to rethink the Atrium in particular,” Motes said. “Miller Dunwiddie is a Minneapolis-based firm with a stellar track record of preserving older buildings and designing new spaces that celebrate and work seamlessly with their older neighbors. In addition we have two of the nation's leaders in theater and acoustical consulting: theater consultant Michael DiBlasi of Shuler Shook and acoustician David Kahn of Acoustic Dimensions. It is a strong team of people who will give us the best music and dance venue we can create.” 

Kelley Lindquist, President of Artspace Projects noted that “Miller Dunwiddie was a natural choice for us given their great work as the architect of two previous Artspace buildings, the 1993 Tilsner Warehouse project in Saint Paul, which won a National Trust for Historic Preservation award, and the Riverside Artist Lofts in Reno.” Among the many historic buildings on which the firm has worked are the Saint Paul Cathedral, Minnesota State Capitol, and the Basilica of Saint Mary in downtown Minneapolis. In addition it is the architect of the new Humphrey Terminal at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. 

About the Minnesota Shubert Center 

The Minnesota Shubert Center will be a new performing arts center at Sixth Street and Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Currently scheduled to open in the Fall of 2008, the Center will be a three-building complex consisting of two historic structures, the 1910 Shubert Theatre and the 1888 Hennepin Center for the Arts, and a new addition that will connect the two older buildings and serve them as a common lobby. Although it will embrace all the performing arts, the Center’s primary points of focus will be dance and music. 

In addition to the SPCO, the Minnesota Shubert Center will be home to some 20 arts organizations, including Ballet Arts Minnesota, Illusion Theater, James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Chorale, Minnesota Crafts Council, Minnesota Dance Theatre and School, VSA Arts Minnesota, and Zenon Dance Company and School. 

Currently, $13.5 million has been committed toward the $37 million total cost. The Minnesota Shubert Center is seeking $15 million in the 2006 Bonding Bill at the Minnesota State Legislature.  It is the City of Minneapolis' top bonding priority. 

The Center is a project of Artspace Projects, a Minneapolis-based national nonprofit real estate developer whose mission is to create and manage space for artists and arts organizations.

Release Date:  February 8, 2006
For additional information, contact:
Kim Motes at 612.465.0242 


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