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BIG ARTS launches ticket sales for ‘Dream Season’

By Staff | Sep 18, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Rendering of the 414-seat theater at the new BIG ARTS building.

As its “Continue the DREAM” project rolls on, with the opening of the new Dunlop Road facility still a few months out, BIG ARTS has an exciting lineup scheduled for the 2019-2020 “Dream Season.”

“We’re very excited about the season coming up,” Executive Director Lee Ellen Harder said.

Set to open in late January, the new two-story 27,000-square-foot building will house a 3,800-square-foot performing arts center with a 414-seat theater. The first floor will also feature a spacious lobby, green room, box office, gift shop, catering kitchen, dressing rooms with showers and large art gallery.

An education center on the second floor will host lectures, plus workshops and classes for painting, photography, music and more. An administrative department will house conference rooms and offices.

While an open house is planned for 2020, BIG ARTS will jump start the new season sooner.

PHOTO PROVIDED A rendering of the new exterior plaza garden that is planned.

“We will have some classes at both our Periwinkle (Way) office space and at the Strauss (Theater) location,” Harder said of the October-November months. “We will have several workshops.”

November also kicks off the Monday movies, plus the afternoon documentaries at Island Cinema.

“We will have our film series,” she said.

Beginning in February, the popular Talking Points series will be held at the Strauss Theater. The new day and time for the lectures is 4 p.m. Tuesdays. Other programs also are returning to the theater.

“We will be continuing with our Open Mic nights and Writers Read,” Harder said.

The annual end-of-the-year performances by the BIG ARTS Band and the BIG ARTS Chorus still will go on as planned thanks to the Sanibel Community Church, which is providing the use of its space.

“We will still have our community holiday concerts,” she said.

“We are so grateful for their partnership,” Harder added. “They have been wonderful.”

With the opening of the new building, BIG ARTS’ performing arts series will run from February through April. The lineup will feature everything from theater to classical music, with a broad spectrum of artists in between. Some jazz, soul, blue grass, western, comedy, magic and even illumination.

“Something for everyone and all ages,” she said.

Single ticket sales will launch this month.

“BIG ARTS is committed to offering the finest national talent in a variety of disciplines,” Harder said. “Even though we’re starting a little bit later on the main stage, we do have a full season booked.”

Those interested are encouraged to get their tickets early.

“Last season most of the performing arts events sold out,” she said. “And the excitement this year has already been building.”

With the opening of the new facility, BIG ARTS also is looking at taking its workshops to the next level. It is aiming to bring in nationally-known artists for week-long residencies and workshops.

Harder cited a watercolorist from Napa Valley, set for February, as one example.

“We’re always looking to elevate the quality of what we do and respond to our community’s interests,” she said. “We’ll also be experimenting with some fun, evening art classes.”

Harder pointed out the new expanded art gallery.

“We have a fabulous gallery, which will be opening in January,” she said. “We will have wonderful exhibits every month through August.”

Next summer, art students from Florida SouthWestern State College will occupy the space.

“They will be doing a student exhibit,” Harder said, adding that the opportunity will provide them with experience hanging and exhibiting their work professionally. “Stop by and see the emerging talent.”

“We’re really not missing much,” she added of the season. “We’re just getting started a little later.”

Harder thanked the community for its support.

“The momentum and excitement for the new facility and the upcoming season has been tremendous,” she said. “We’re looking forward to what we will be able to offer the community moving forward.”

For more information and tickets, visit bigarts.org or call the box office at 239-395-0900.

BIG ARTS is looking for volunteers.

“We’ll have lots of volunteer opportunities coming up,” Harder said. “We could not do what we do without the volunteers.”

For more information on volunteering, call 239-472-9700.

The Strauss Theater is at 2200 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

BIG ARTS Periwinkle is at 2244 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

BIG ARTS is at 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel.