Spirit Square Arts Center is a beacon of art and culture in downtown Charlotte. Spirit Square originated with a church that was designed by J.M. Michael. It is in a historical building that was erected in 1909 and was originally designated as a church. In the early 1970's the congregation moved out of the old church and into a new facility, however, the pastor wanted to turn the church into a community arts center. By 1975, the old church was in the process of a planned demolishment. A local citizen was able to rally fellow Charlotte residents and save the building from destruction. In 1976, Spirit Square was born. The former First Baptist Church became the main performance hall for local and regional performers. The church is now the location of the McGlohon Theatre in Spirit Square. The theatre still holds the traditional stained glass windows and byzantine dome. The historical theatre space is capable of seating 700 people. The McGlohon theatre has two levels; an orchestra stage level and balcony.
The second theatre in Spirit Square is the Duke Energy Theatre which is capable of seating 182 people. The Duke Energy Theatre is a multi-purpose space that has been used for seminars, meetings, lectures, and receptions and other events. The theatre has its original antique architecture and boasts of hardwood floors and gorgeous stained glass windows. The Duke Energy Theatre contributes to the heartbeat of Spirit Square by hosting theatrical and musical productions throughout the year.
In order to modernize and update the arts and culture scene in Dallas, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center was eventually constructed. The building was developed to bring a multi-use performing arts center to the city of Charlotte. Blumenthal is a state of the art facility that cost the city and residents over $60 million to construct. The building was designed by renowned architect, Cesar Pelli and officially opened in November 1992. The center was named after the Blumenthal Foundation in order to honor the organization's generosity. The other major theaters that contribute to the arts scene of Spirit Square are the Booth Playhouse, Belk Theater, and Stage Door Theatre.
Spirit Square is where tourists and locals go to experience a piece of Charlotte's art scene. Spirit Square has a mission of educating the public through performance arts. The art center hosts classes at the facility and via satellite to culturally educate the local youth. The square arranges performances by local artists in order to provide fun, educational, and unique opportunities to performers. The Center for arts is an interdisciplinary arts center that holds exhibits and classes for those interested in pursuing performing arts.
Visitors of Spirit Square are provided complimentary walk-up tours of the performing arts center and Spirit Square area. The walk-ups are provided by knowledgeable tour guides that can give visitors a first hand look at the history of art, culture, and dance in Charlotte. The tours are offered on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month and are free of charge.
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