The Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood has announced a $15 million public-private partnership capital campaign during a groundbreaking ceremony held yesterday at the venue. The capital campaign, with $4 million already raised during a silent phase, will support the renovation and restoration of the historic theater, as well as an expansion of its arts education programs.
In addition to the $4 million raised through the generosity of key stakeholders from New Jersey’s philanthropic and cultural community of donors, businesses, corporations, and foundations during the silent phase of the capital campaign, the County of Bergen has initiated the funding of $6 million, helping bergenPAC reach a remarkable $10 million toward its overall goal of $15 million. At the groundbreaking event, the bergenPAC Board of Trustees unveiled its ambitious follow-up public-private partnership campaign to secure the additional $5 million in capital.
Further, bergenPAC announced that its “Invest In the Arts” campaign has entered its public phase, and invited all members of the community to join the campaign and become a part of this transformational legacy that is inspiring young performers and thrilling theater patrons.
Frank Huttle, III who founded bergenPAC in 2003, says, “We are elated that bergenPAC is poised to bring entertainment to more people in the community with a renovated state-of-the-art theater, featuring enhanced technology and sound taking us into the future along with the expansion of arts education programs that take place at our Performing Arts School and in New Jersey’s Public Schools. The county has marshaled its considerable governmental powers in support of our theater and the educational programs, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
The 1,367-seat theater, which originally opened 1926 as a vaudeville and movie theater, is one of the few such buildings still operating in the United States as an entertainment venue. The intent of the renovation and restoration plan is to retain the venue’s original décor and design, with enhancements and reconstruction meant to take bergenPAC into the future. The architect company is DMR, and construction will be led by Ray Reduce Development. The renovations and upgrades revealed during the groundbreaking ceremony will be carried out by a local union workforce.
With the additional funding bergenPAC can expand two critical arts education programs. The Special Needs program “Voices in Harmony” is a partnership with N.J. public schools for students and young adults with special needs where students work together and participate in residencies focused on hip hop, music, dance, and theater.
The Performing Arts School has a track record of partnering with over 140 N.J. public, private, and independent schools, bolstering their existing arts programs and benefiting 15,000 students with workshops, masterclasses, residencies, assemblies, and co-theater presentations. Co-productions result in musicals led by a team of professional directors, choreographers, sound techs, and more, provided by bergenPAC. The Performing Arts School also produces assembly programs teaching real-life issues, including anti-bullying, drug abuse awareness, health and nutrition, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Among the planned upgrades are:
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