The Longmont Performing Arts Initiative (LPAI) has launched a drive to raise funds toward the construction of proposed performance and convention facilities in Longmont.
LPAI is a collaborative group of six non-profit performing arts organizations in Longmont: Centennial State Ballet, Longmont Chorale, Longmont Concert Band, Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Longmont Youth Symphony and Longs Peak Chorus. LPAI was formed in 2017, and the
creation of a performance facility is its first major undertaking.
The fund drive, “75 in 75,” aims to raise $75,000 in 75 days—by June 1st—to help fund the feasibility study that is the first step in the creation of the facility, which for now is going by the name of “The Longmont Center.” To date, LPAI has more than $10,000 in donations and pledges, including contributions from all members of LPAI. The Longmont Community Foundation has set up a fund for the project, the Friends of the Longmont Cultural and Performing Arts Center Fund.
The feasibility study is the first step in the process that will lead to the construction of the Longmont Center. Bob Balsman, coordinator of LPAI, explained that “the feasibility study is a doorknob of sorts. You won’t get into the building without it. It’s as important to the process as
constructing the building itself.”
The full cost of the feasibility study is estimated to be as much as $150,000. The City of Longmont has shown its support for the Longmont Center project by formally agreeing to enter into a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) with LPAI and other groups. The total amount for the feasibility study will be shared by the organizations joining in the MOU.
Half of that total, up to $75,000, will come from the City of Longmont, the Longmont Downtown Development Authority (LDDA), Longmont Economic Development Partnership (LEDP), Visit Longmont, Longmont Chamber of Commerce, and the Longmont Community Foundation. It is the other half of the total cost that LPAI has undertaken to raise from individual donors through the fundraising campaign “75 in 75.”
“We’re thrilled and grateful to have the unprecedented, growing support across our community” Balsman said of the participation of the partners in the MOU.
Visit Longmont, the city’s official tourism bureau, will manage the selection of a firm to undertake the feasibility study. Requests for proposals (RFPs) have already been sent out and responses will be due at the end of March.
Nancy Rezac, executive director of Visit Longmont, observed that “Longmont currently lacks adequate facilities to accommodate conference and convention requests exceeding 100 attendees. Our organization wishes to have a multi-use facility designed and constructed to attract meetings
and conventions, cater to local performing arts organizations, and attract regional and national acts.”
Marcia Martin, Ward 2 representative on the Longmont City Council, is a fan of the proposal. “I’ve been evangelizing for a dedicated cultural arts center in Longmont since Elliot Moore, music director of the Longmont Symphony, impressed upon me the need and benefits,” Martin said.
“The concept made it into the City Council vision, and since that time every group and individual that I’ve spoken to about it has responded with enthusiasm. Longmont is ready to step up to the next level as a regional center of excellence, and our amazing local performing arts groups are
leading the way.”
An advantage of the proposal is that Longmont currently has space available to build a state-of-the-art performance facility that is conveniently located and offers adequate parking—something that Boulder lacks. Significantly, groups from Boulder have already made use of the Longmont
Museum’s 250-seat Stewart Auditorium and expressed an interest in future performances there.
The preliminary concept for the Longmont Center calls for a combination performing space and convention center. The performing space would include an auditorium capable of mounting full theatrical productions, and a smaller flexible space.
Balsman said that the proposed facility would not only benefit Longmont’s performing organizations, but would also benefit the larger regional community by bringing touring performances to the city. “The new facility will transform the performing arts in our community and Northern Colorado,” he said.
“It will give our local performing arts groups new capabilities and increase their presence. Equally significant is the fact that the facility will bring in talent who tour regionally and nationally.”
Donations for the Longmont Center can be given through the Longmont Community Foundation at www.LongmontFoundation.org. Click “Donate” and select “Friends of the Longmont Cultural and Performing Arts Center. LPAI has a Web page under construction for the project at Longmontcenter.org where you may sign up for information updates on the project.
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