The dream of building a state-of-the-art, multi-use performing arts center in Charlotte dates back to the late 1970s. Momentum grew in the 1980s, resulting in a $15 million allocation from the State of North Carolina, a $15 million bond referendum approved by the citizens of Charlotte, and an additional $32 million contributed by individuals, corporations and foundations to fund construction. In 1987, the Belk Brothers Company donated a valuable piece of land in Center City Charlotte as the site for the Center.
Renowned architect Cesar Pelli designed the Performing Arts Center as well as the adjacent Bank of America Corporate Center and Founders Hall. The Performing Arts Center opened in November 1992 after a three-year construction effort. The Center?s name honors the contributions of the people of the state of North Carolina as well as the generosity of the Blumenthal Foundation, the largest private donor to the capital campaign.
The Performing Arts Center has three performance spaces: the 2,100-seat Belk Theater; the 434-seat Booth Playhouse, and the Studio Theater which seats 150.
The Center presents the Broadway Lights Series, featuring national touring Broadway productions and a wide range of special attractions. Additionally, the Center?s Education Institute and Community Programs Division develop innovative partnerships with schools and community organizations to bring the performing arts to life for people throughout the region.
The Center is home to the seasons of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Opera Carolina, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Carolina Voices, the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra, Moving Poets Theater of Dance and the Carolinas Concert Association.
The Performing Arts Center added Spirit Square Center for Arts and Education to its mission in July 1997. Spirit Square was built in 1909 as the First Baptist Church.
The congregation moved to a new building in the early 1970s, and community leaders rallied to preserve the structure and give it new life as a community arts center, Spirit Square, which opened in 1976. Today, Spirit Square is a community center focusing on arts education and community theater.
The pride of Spirit Square is the 720-seat McGlohon Theatre. Originally the First Baptist Church sanctuary, the theatre has been carefully restored to preserve and enhance its unique architectural details. The theater is named in honor of the late, legendary jazz pianist Loonis McGlohon, of Charlotte. Spirit Square?s second theater is the black-box style Duke Power Theatre which seats 180. In partnership with Northwest School of the Arts, the Center provides a satellite campus for 150 students in Spirit Square?s classrooms enhancing their learning experience with a constructive, enriching learning environment in the heart of the vibrant uptown arts district.
The Performing Arts Center is supported by its members and donors, the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, the annual fund drive of the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Inc., and the Grassroots Arts Program of the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.
Facts about Your Center:
Brings to Charlotte and the region an incredible array of the very best of the performing and cultural arts, including first-class touring Broadway productions, and a variety of dance, music, family and educational programs.
Offers curriculum-enhancing programs through its Education Institute for the region's students in classrooms, studios, theaters and neighborhood and community centers.
Collaborates with numerous local and regional partners to bring diverse arts and cultural programs to our communities.
Welcomes and serves nearly 630,000 attendees, including 150,000 students and children to its programs, theaters, classrooms and galleries annually, and provides a home to its 16 resident companies at the Center and Spirit Square.
Infuses $50 million annually into our economy.
Since opening our theater doors in 1992, 5.1 million people have attended an event, performance, activity or meeting at the Center or Spirit Square.
Ranks among the leading performing arts centers in the nation.