The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles Will Launch $15 Million Home Improvement Project

The renovation will create a new 299-seat state of the art multi-media and live performing arts and community center.

By: May. 21, 2024
The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles Will Launch $15 Million Home Improvement Project
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The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles has announced a transformative renovation of its downtown Los Angeles headquarters that creates a new 299-seat state of the art multi-media and live performing arts and community center.
 
SCLA Founder and Artistic Director Ben Donenberg said, “Renovating our 22,000 square foot warehouse to support live multi-media performance, as well as building out the functionalities demanded by high tech media production, will enable us to create great art that meets the moment and support other non-profit arts organizations and commercial for-profit entertainment industry enterprises to do the same.”
 
The newly renovated studio will also support the expansion of a wide range of SCLA’s White House awarded youth employment programs and transitional arts employment on-the-job training experiences targeting to Los Angeles community’s most severely unemployed populations. 
 
SCLA has appointed Amanda Susskind as Managing Director to lead this effort. Susskind was the former President of Teach Democracy, a national civic education provider, and before that was the Los Angeles Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League. A throughline in her career as a lawyer and non-profit leader is programming for students and teachers in underserved communities. 
 
“It is thrilling to be part of the transformation of a community. The new space will bolster the Shakespeare Center’s long history of providing world-class theater and life-transforming education and workforce programs,” said Susskind. “We also see it as providing a western gateway to the downtown arts community, anchored in the Grand Street corridor which houses the Civic Center, Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels, Music Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Colburn School, and the Broad and MOCA museums.”
 
The world-renowned architect of the project is Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA, Design Principal of SPF:architects. His work is distinguished by over 100 national and regional design awards, including an American Architecture Award in 2014 for the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and an AIALA Presidential Award for leading the executive architecture team on the $280-million renovation and expansion of the Getty Villa Museum.
 
The firm began its relationship with the SCLA in 2003 and has since received two awards for the Shakespeare Center’s design including the Los Angeles Business Council Design Concept Award in 2018 and the Southern California Development Forum Design Award in 2018. Pali is also locally known for WE3 at Water’s Edge, 160,000 square feet of LEED Gold creative office space in Playa Vista, and MODAA, a mixed-use live/work space in the heart of Culver City.
 
"As an architect deeply committed to the power of the arts to transform communities, I am excited to lead the renovation efforts for the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles," said Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA, Founder and Design Principal. "Our vision for SCLA is not just about revitalizing a space, but about enabling SCLA to build upon their legacy of artistic expression and community engagement. We celebrate this groundbreaking and look forward to the building’s unveiling as a cultural beacon for the LA community and beyond."    
    
To date, SCLA has secured $15 million for the renovation through the innovative sale of US Department of the Treasury New Market Tax Credits, a game-changing contribution of California Arts Council funds arranged by California State Senator Maria Elena Durazo ; a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, and a lead gift from The Ahmanson Foundation that put the entire project in motion.
 
“The large grant from the California Arts Council and the New Market Tax Credits award reflects the theater’s long-standing commitment to creating economic and educational opportunities in underserved communities,” stated California State Senator Durazo. “Besides SCLA’s world-class mainstage productions of Shakespeare and other classics, the center’s arts education and workforce programs help break the cycle of disinvestment in historically low-income communities.”
 
“While we have lovingly called this our ‘home improvement project’ we also recognize that it is in fact a major transformation and significant addition to the downtown arts scene,” said SCLA Board Chair Bill Ahmanson.



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