Can The Annapolis Maryland Capital Region Support Two Artistic Venues?
There have been hushed conversations taking place around Annapolis Maryland since the Fall of 2007 when local developer Mr. Jerry Parks first announced his plans to build a performing arts theater at the Park Place center on West Street. More recently the tone of that dialogue regarding the possibility of a Maryland Theater for the Performing Arts becoming a reality has varied from utter excitement to murmured concern as the momentum for the project has once again gained traction.
First of all let me cut to the chase by stating that in my opinion having a center for the performing arts such as the one being proposed here in Annapolis would be a great thing for Maryland's Capital City to have both culturally and economically. In focusing for the moment on the benefits for the performing arts community at large let me say that if organizations such as the Annapolis Symphony, Ballet, Opera, and Chorale will be able to hold their annual seasonal performances on its stage that feature wonderful acoustics as well as an improved theatrical experience than this is certainly a reason to consider supporting the project.
Economically the proposed performing arts theater and the audiences that the MTPA believes that it will draw by featuring performing artists of a national reputation is good for Annapolis. There are those who believe that this project will also provide for further new development along the West Street corridor as it makes its way towards Calvert Street.
However there also exists the possibility of fallout in the visual arts community due to the construction of this center hence a reason for including a sign from the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts at the beginning of this article. Having been privy to discussions held by patrons and officials of Maryland Hall over the years there seems to be at times a concern on their part about how a new performing arts center will impact the current level of donations and sponsorships for the current Chase Street creative art venue. After working for years to attract new patrons to both the performance and visual art offerings at the Hall there could be repercussions via reduced contributions and revenue for the organization at large.
Recognizing the amount of financial resources necessary to improve the lighting, sound systems and acoustics within the Concert arena at Maryland Hall in order to improve the experience for both the attendees and performers a like have been the subject of conversations over the years. I can recall attending a presentation by the conductor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra where he noted that he must at times choose the works to be performed based somewhat on the limited acoustics innate to the hall itself. To date there have only been selected less costly improvements scheduled to be undertaken at the Hall.
Of course those of us who have ever been to the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts know that it also serves as a community center for the visual arts as well. With artist studios and galleries located throughout the old classrooms found in the former Annapolis High School facility a visitor can drop in and observe creative individuals at work in their studios or stroll through the numerous galleries on the premises.
In addition Maryland Hall also serves as a coordinator for numerous artistic events held throughout the area including the popular Paint Annapolis coming up in late June. In the warmer months one can come here to enjoy outdoor art shows spread across the outside of the center and other cultural events.
So in closing I am of the opinion that a new performing arts center in Annapolis is good for the city as well as its citizens however I would be less than candid if I did not also express a concern that the level of patronage and contributions for the existing visual arts community center could perhaps be in jeopardy at some point in the future.
Note: currently the photograph featured in this article is not on display in the Main Gallery
Image and Article Copyright © 2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC