State-of-the-art Midtown Arts Center opens in Eugene

It's the only facility like it on the west coast between Seattle and San Francisco.

Posted: Oct 22, 2021 11:32 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- There's a new state-of-the-art arts center now open in Eugene, and there’s nothing else like it between San Francisco and Seattle.

The Midtown Arts Center is located at 174 E 16th Ave. It houses the Eugene Ballet and the Eugene Ballet Academy, and it’s home to administrative offices of seven other arts organizations.

It also includes housing and commercial space, rentable conference rooms and an art gallery.

Dancers say the centerpiece of the Midtown Arts Center is the rehearsal studios.

“Our crown jewel, our Studio 67, is now 60 feet wide and 40 feet deep, which puts it on par with the Silva stage at the Hult Center,” said Mark Tucker, a principal dancer with the Eugene Ballet.

Danielle Tolmie, who is also a principal dancer and instructor for the Eugene Ballet Academy said it’s a game changer when it comes to practicing.

“Now we have all the space to do new lifts that we could never do in the old building," she said. "Actually the ceilings were quite low and my husband Mark and I would do lifts and I would hit the ceiling with my feet or my hands or my head and there were lifts that we actually never got to practice on stage until two days before the show.”

The Eugene Ballet serves more than 500 children a week. The new facility also has a props room and a place for costumes that are both easy to access. That was not the case in the old facility. They weren't able to get many of the large props through the small door, so they couldn't practice with items ahead of time for performances.

The Executive Director, Josh Neckels, said the Midtown Arts Center will not only offer stability for the nonprofits in the building, it was also have an economic impact in the area as it’s also the foundation of a 128,000-square-foot development that includes commercial space and 39 condos.

"They're feeding their income and their livelihoods into this living arts center and the surrounding communities around. Feeding into restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, so this is a key investment in this part of the community,” Neckels said.

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