Imagine a place where students and teachers, artists and business leaders, residents and visitors all gather to experience the pleasure of Jacksonville, Illinois.
That’s the vision for the Jacksonville Center for the Arts, also called the Civic Center.
For several years, the JCA worked to identify a first-class facility to accommodate this vision. Thanks to strong community support, the city of Jacksonville eventually offered a 98-year lease for a vacant car lot east of City Hall, helping the vision to become a reality.
When the Board President explained why the center wanted to partner with Graham & Hyde for the design of this important project, she shared a single sentence: “Graham & Hyde understands Jacksonville.”
And Graham & Hyde’s history of projects in Jacksonville proved valuable during the planning process for the civic center, which took more than five months of committee meetings, phone conversations and email discussions.
The new Jacksonville Center for the Arts will be a 17,000 sf construction, with offices, support space and a 500-seat auditorium.
A unique component to this project stems from local schools, including the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) and Illinois School for the Visually Impaired (ISVP). Because of these programs, the Center for the Arts created an Accessibility Committee to ensure the new facility is inclusive and accessible for patrons of all abilities. The committee is currently discussing operational and programming ideas, as well as facility accommodations.
After the Board raised their first one million dollars in donations, two photo-realistic renderings were created and presented at a “Thanks a Million” celebration for the community.
Once the project is completed, the new Center for the Arts will be the northern anchor for Jacksonville’s revitalized downtown.