Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe Becomes FringeArts
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by BWW News Desk
This morning, the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe marked the beginning of a new era: The 17-year-old contemporary arts organization has officially changed its name to FringeArts. The new name, announced in conjunction with breaking ground on a versatile permanent home on Philadelphia's burgeoning waterfront, reflects the organization's mission to bring the world's newest and most cutting-edge cultural experiences to the City of Brotherly Love.
"We are an institution on a mission to explore the boundaries of art, to reveal what is yet to be discovered, to present high-quality new work that compels and challenges expectation, and to support the artists who create it," says President and Producing Director Nick Stuccio. "FringeArts defines the bold innovation that characterizes the art we pride ourselves in pursuing."
FringeArts will be permanently located across the street from Race Street Pier at the corner of Race Street and Columbus Boulevard. The 1903 historic former pumping station will be transformed into a year-round center for contemporary performing and visual arts; the 10,000-square-foot building will feature a 240-seat theater, rehearsal and creation studio, permanent festival hub, outdoor events plaza, restaurant/bar and administrative offices.
Programming under the new FringeArts banner will expand to include not only the annual 16-day Festival but also a year-round series of high-quality contemporary dance, theater and music performances both local and international; commissioned public art installations; and a residency program that continues to expand and grow as a state-of-the-art incubator for artists.
The organization plans to open the building to the public in time for the 2013 Festival (Sept. 6-21), serving as FringeArts' festival hub and housing performances, the box office and the Festival bar.
Stuccio joined Mayor Michael A. Nutter, former Gov. Ed Rendell, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce Alan Greenberger, philanthropist Leonard C. Haas and columnist/philly.com's "Out and About" host Maria Papadakis on Monday, along with members of Philadelphia's cultural community, to celebrate the organization's expanded scope.
According to Mayor Nutter, the move is significant not only for the organization but for the future of the waterfront: "This innovative new arts center solidifies FringeArts as an integral part of the city's goal to develop the waterfront, providing a much-needed hub for culture and creativity on the Delaware River."
Adds Tom Corcoran, president of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation: "We are thrilled that such a thriving arts organization has chosen the waterfront for its new headquarters, performance space and café. It's exciting to see one of the key principles of the new Master Plan for the Central Delaware in action, as strategic public investments such as the award-winning Race Street Pier and the vibrant streetscape of the Race Street Connector continue to catalyze private development. We look forward to continuing this synergistic partnership with FringeArts, and we hope to work together to even further expand opportunities for the arts on the waterfront."
The organization purchased the High Pressure Fire Service (HPFS) building in June 2012 for $750,000. Total cost of the renovation, headed by Philadelphia architecture firm Wallace Roberts & Todd, is $7 million. With grant funding and support from group and individual leadership donors, the Festival is now only $600,000 away from its financial goal.
"Just as our impact on the artistic community is great, our economic impact on the community is immense," said Stuccio. "According to a 2010 Economic Impact Study by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, our organization generated nearly $8 million in local economic impact that year alone. Now we're poised to do even more. We've always been a dynamic organization, and this building will be the catalyst to bring the excitement and creativity of the Festival to our region, 365 days a year."
To support these initiatives, FringeArts has launched the "Take Your Seat" campaign. Individuals and institutions can become a permanent part of this vital addition to Philadelphia's arts community by making a donation in exchange for name recognition on one of the new theater's 240 seats. For more information, visit fringearts.com/buyaseat.