What’s happening: Blumenthal Performing Arts leaders are dreaming up a plan to build the city a new arts center, sprawling across 30,000 or so square feet, that would serve as a space for immersive public events, live performances and arts education.
Why it matters: Immersive Van Gogh drew over 300,000 individuals from across the region to Charlotte and introduced a fresh way to experience art.
It drove up business at Camp North End and funneled over $500,000 into the pockets of local artists through its residency program, according to Blumenthal CEO Tom Gabbard. Now Gabbard wants to create a permanent space to “ride this redefinition of the arts,” he says.
What to expect: The space is inspired by projects around the world like Ideal Barcelona, an innovative digital art center in Spain; London’s Troubadour Theatres, which operates semi-permanent, movable venues; and Theater of the Mind, an immersive theater experience in Denver, Colorado. Gabbard and his team traveled extensively for inspiration in building a cutting-edge center he believes will set Charlotte apart as a leader in the immersive art space.
The space: Gabbard and his team have been searching for the right building for over a year to no avail. The right property, he tells Axios, will have:
- 23,500 to 31,500 square feet, including one large room of at least 10,000 square feet with no beams to block a visitor’s view.
- A central location within the city of Charlotte with easy access to freeways and public transportation.
What’s next: As Gabbard and his team continue searching for the right location, they’re seeking input from residents and local creatives on what they’d want in a space like this. They’re used to activating fast — Immersive Van Gogh took just a few months to pull off. When I ask Gabbard if he’s worried these immersive art exhibits are just an “Emily In Paris”-fueled fever dream, he replies with, “Just about everything in the arts is a trend.”