Sun Theater to become Performing Arts Center for GCAA

The ongoing project to thoroughly renovate the Sun Theater will remain in high gear through the fall and winter.  The current completion date is set for spring of 2014.

The theater will serve as the Performing Arts Center for the Grand Center Arts Academy, which is dedicated to nurturing and developing the artistic talents of GCAA’s diverse students in dance, theater, band, orchestra, musical theater, choral music and stagecraft.

Photo by Jess Dewes

Photo by Jess Dewes

GCAA  will serve grades 6-11 for the 2014-15 school year and finally reach its goal of serving grades 6-12 the following year.  Currently at 550 students, the school will serve 750 students by the fall of 2015. In addition to the theater space, the building will also house four classrooms.

The renovation of this historic gem, headed by the Lawrence Group, caps a long process to have a theater venue for the arts-focused school.  Finding performance venues has a been a huge challenge for the school since it formed four years ago.

According to Dan Rubright, GCAA’s Director of Arts and Community Partnerships:

Having this space available has been the bedrock of our vision and a large part of the draw for our students and families. We are incredibly grateful for this “once in a lifetime” opportunity and for those that helped make this a reality.

There is a great sense of excitement and anticipation building within our school and in the surrounding community. In fact, we have already received various outside inquiries about using the space, once completed. Once GCAA programming has been solidified, we will consider rental requests.  We are excited about the possibilities for what types of programming may be offered but we also encourage patience. The theater will be a work in progress even after the literal completion date.

Please note that we will not officially schedule any outside events until all GCAA events have been scheduled for the 2014-15 academic school year. This process will not be complete until April 2014.  All booking requests must come through the GCAA administration.

When the renovation is complete, we will have a limited lighting and sound system. Our current development process is addressing these essential needs and progress in this area will be updated accordingly.

Rental application documents will be available online in February/March of 2014, but nothing will be finalized until all dates are secured for the academy for the following year.

A comprehensive list of theater specifics, including facility usage policy will be released no later than February 2014.

Sun Theater renovation featured in STL Beacon

Remember how the Sun Theater looked back in January 2013?  Here is an image from back then:

Sun Theater - Image by JuJu Vieth

Sun Theater – January 8, 2013 Image by GCAA student JuJu Vieth

Fast forward nine months.  The renovation of the Sun Theater is continuing just down the block from GCAA and the excitement continues to build. Much of that excitement is captured by this August 26 article by the STL Beacon.  Here’s an excerpt:

One hundred years after it opened, the building is finally getting the loving care it deserves from the Lawrence Group, as it strives to reconstruct as much of the original beauty as possible while turning it into a fully modern performance venue, with the Grand Center Arts Academy as its main tenant.


Great Streets Project encompasses new developments in Grand Center

The St. Louis Beacon reports on many upcoming developments in Grand Center, including  the renovation of GCAA’s Sun Theater:

The final report on the project that was completed on June 30 has just been posted to the Grand Center website. The total cost estimate for the project is $68 million and includes consideration of side streets like Spring Avenue and Grandel Square.