A New, Innovative Facility
VTA is thrilled to announce the addition of a new facility to our campus. The Arts Annex at the corner of Second and Ludlow Streets, across from the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center, is the latest addition to downtown Dayton’s Arts District.
“That corner has been open for quite a while – for some 15 years, ever since Elder Beerman vacated that block and the Courthouse Crossings building was created,” said Daniel J. McCabe, Co-Chair, Downtown Dayton Partnership. “Anyone who is interested in the success of our city core – and Dayton as a region – has to be pleased with this development. It shows such commitment and investment in downtown – not surprising from Victoria Theatre Association, which is the largest property owner in downtown outside of the city, county, and federal buildings.”
The 12,000-square-foot space will be transformed into a fresh and flexible home for creative, new arts experiences for all ages.
“Building creative capacity in our region is the number one organizational priority in VTA’s strategic plan,” explained Ken Neufeld, VTA President & CEO. “We believe that fostering more creative opportunities in our community – and specifically more creative opportunities for our young people – is important in today’s world. Young people crave creative pursuits, and the positive value of involving young people in creative activities is undisputed. The Arts Annex – through expanded programs, innovative teaching and learning techniques, and new performance opportunities – will give our young people, as well as teachers, artists, and patrons of every age, the opportunity to experience, explore and express their personal creativity, however that is defined.”
“The arts activities VTA creates are at capacity because thousands of our community members utilize them throughout the year,” explained Gary Minyard, VTA Vice President – Education & Engagement. “The Arts Annex gives our current Education & Engagement programs room to grow, but more importantly, we will now have room to expand into new and exciting avenues that VTA has yet to explore.”
There is a need for an intimate, state-of-the-art, flexible performance space in downtown that has a multitude of configurations, is patrons and professional companies the highest quality experience possible. Current space in the Metropolitan Arts Center is being used for rehearsals and workshops aligned with the Morris Furniture Co. Family Series and the Discovery Series, where proximity to the Victoria is important. However, those spaces are far from ideal given access challenges, lack of visibility, and other difficulties. Room at the Schuster Center’s Mathile Theatre is at a premium for events and meetings, and is becoming less available for classes and workshops, especially during Broadway weeks, opera rehearsals, or gala events.
“The Arts Annex provides just what is needed for the Dayton arts community to continue to grow and reach new audiences that crave a different experience that is more hands-on, more participatory,” continued Minyard.
The Arts Annex concept has been fully vetted by the VTA Board of Trustees. The building will be leased by VTA with a fundraising initiative to support programming and operations. The city of Dayton and other downtown entities are firmly behind the project.
“The support has been tremendous,” Neufeld said. “People understand the need and the concept immediately.”
The next few months will be full of design plans, architectural meetings, obtaining permits, and more planning.