BIG ARTS rebuilding for the future

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After years of planning and exploring multiple options, BIG ARTS facilities on Sanibel Island are being rebuilt on its long-time, city-owned footprint.
The $14 million project got underway in April with the demolition of the complex where visual and fine arts programming had taken place for roughly 40 years.
In 2014, the board of directors, staff, volunteers and a terrific team of professionals embarked upon a review of BIG ARTS long-term sustainability. All the buildings had reached their useful life. With community input, they created a vision for its renewal: A new building in keeping with Sanibel Captiva architectural style erected on the same sacred footprint that offers a bigger stage, elevator, safe and easy access, comfortable seating, dynamic sound, more room for social gatherings, an outdoor performance space and better classrooms.
The new performance hall will still seat 410 people, and will have improved sight lines and boast a stage that is nearly three times larger than the last one, according to Chuck Ketteman, project committee chair and long-time board member.
“We’re doing a 12-month project in nine months,” added Ketteman in regard to the aggressive construction schedule. The project is scheduled to be completed in January in time for a gala grand opening on Jan. 24. The contractor has not run into any delays, says Ketteman.
Ketteman is quick to commend all the players involved, from volunteers to staff to board members to contractor and architect. He adds, “The city has been very, very helpful.”
The new building will also house an art gallery (about the same size as previous), offices, more restrooms and classrooms. “There’s a been an increasing demand for adult education and adult learning,” says Ketteman, and this new building will help BIG ARTS meet that demand.
BIG ARTS plans to continue its fantastic history of visual and performing arts with this new complex and showcase some of the world’s best talent.
For more about BIG ARTS, visit online at


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SWFHappenings Magazine is the best news source for local arts, music, theater and all around entertainment events.

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