Located at the corner of Montgomery and Oglethorpe Streets, the new Savannah Cultural Arts Center is an attraction where locals and visitors alike can not only see art, hear music and enjoy performances, but also participate in creating art.
The two-story 39,000-square-foot facility includes a 464-seat performing arts theater with a fixed stage, a smaller “black box” performance theatre that can accommodate 100 seats, five studio classrooms and gallery space, concessions, a set workshop, and dressing rooms, and offices. The studios will be used for hand-built and wheel throwing ceramics, metals & glass, and other visual arts.
The new center will replace an existing 10,000-square-foot leased black box theater and gallery called S.P.A.C.E. on Henry Street. The prominent location of the new center will serve as a key gateway into Savannah with wonderful proximity to Savannah's other major art facilities, such as the Jepson Center for the Arts, the SCAD Museum of Art, and the Johnny Mercer Theater.
The $17.3 million dedicated to the building construction (the total project value is $24,440,000, majority SPLOST) is being paid for with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funding approved by voters. The construction manager M. B. Kahn teamed with Polote Construction, a local MBE firm, and architects Gunn Meyerhoff Shay, also of Savannah. This is the first time the City has utilized the Construction Manager at Risk project delivery method. The goal of the team has been to work together early in the process to drive down costs and reduce the number of unknowns in this historic, downtown location. Extensive safety, traffic and security measures are being employed during construction.
In conjunction with this project, Montgomery Street was converted into a two-way street in order to allow visitors to access the entrance of the center easily from both Oglethorpe Avenue and Liberty Street where they can and drop people off at the entrance, where they will be funneled in through curved walls of white brick.