Archive for Thursday, June 18, 1998


June 18, 1998


Concepts for renovating and expanding the Lawrence Arts Center are being transferred to paper and cut into three-dimensional models.

Concepts and desires are taking shape for a $5.8 million renovation and expansion of the Lawrence Arts Center.

Architects from Glenn Livingood Penzler Architects will show off their latest visions for the project this morning during a meeting of the center's board of directors. The meeting is at 7 a.m. at the center, 200 W. Ninth.

Members of the Mayor's Arts Center Advisory Committee already have checked out the architectural models, and like what they see.

The committee's two preferred layouts offer different additions onto the center's home, the landmark Carnegie Library, as well as a unified vision for an arts hub for the next millennium, Mayor Marty Kennedy said.

``They have a soft attachment to the building, leaving the Carnegie standing alone but still attaching to it with a very delicate technique. That's very important for all our historical concerns,'' Kennedy said. ``Architecturally, it's going to be a great enhancement for the corner.''

The project is more than architecture. Plans call for a ceramics studio, as well as space for classes involving general art, jewelry, printmaking, textiles and dance. Also included are arts-based preschool classrooms, two art galleries and a separate sales gallery.

Both plans call for a main lobby in place of the existing alley, as one way to emphasize the public nature and active aspects of both the current site and future center.

A performance hall could seat as many as 300 to 400 people. One plan puts the hall directly behind the existing center, while the other envisions a ``sculptural'' hall at the corner of Ninth and Kentucky streets, said David Dunfield, project architect.

In all, the project could add as much as 30,000 square feet to the existing 10,000-square-foot center, which already attracts 95,000 visitors a year.

The project also is far from decided.

Architects will spend the next couple weeks refining their models and drawings for further review by the advisory committee. The next meeting is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.

Arts center officials, who have been working for 10 years to add space to their cramped quarters, are still hoping to open doors for the renovated and expanded center in early 2000.

The project is expected to cost $5.8 million, of which $3.625 million would come from city taxpayers. Center officials plan to make up the difference with donations, of which they already have collected $1.5 million.

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is

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