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Arts center set to move forward on its master plan

Karl Horeis

The Brewery Arts Center’s board of directors hopes to make major strides on their master plan this year. Retrofitting the old St. Teresa of Avila Church – which they purchased late in 2001 – will be a major focus.

“I think the big one for us is we are going to be able to leave the planning phase and actually start some construction on turning the old church into a performance hall,” said the art center’s executive director, Phil Caterino.

A $100,000 grant from the commission for cultural affairs will pay for upgraded bathrooms and improved sound, he said.

Because the 140-year-old church has been nominated for the state register of historic places, few changes can be made to its exterior.

“You can rejuvenate the inside quite bit, but they really like to preserve the facade as much as possible,” Caterino said.

The board also plans to improve seating by putting in some kind of risers. The aim will be to give line-of-sight viewing of the stage to the whole audience, without hampering the acoustics.

The performance hall construction won’t mean an end to concerts. The Donald W. Reynolds black box theater inside the main Brewery building will still be available and the board may organize some outdoor shows.

“We really don’t want to shut things down for 6 or 8 months,” Caterino said.

Another part of the Brewery’s master plan is to lead the charge on improving the redevelopment district for pedestrians. The “Blue Line” tour already in place brings a lot of foot traffic to the arts center, Caterino said.

“We’re a classic example of how redevelopment areas can work for pedestrians. Tourists and even locals on their lunch breaks can come see a play, go through the art gallery, maybe pick up some gifts – all in the same area.”

Caterino, who was hired in August, said Carson City already has something special in the area.

“What we have here on the west side of Carson City is what everybody else would love to have. They can’t build that kind of setting with all the big trees and the old houses that have been preserved in that area.”

This year, he hopes to improve on that.

“We’ll be working with other groups as well that want to do bike trails and promote alternative transportation.”

He’s even looked at getting CitiFare bus service to the area.

“CitiFare is real interested in doing something with us,” he said.

BAC’s master plans calls for uniting the old Brewery block with the St. Teresa block. By removing Minnesota Street which currently divides them, an arts plaza suitable for outdoor festivals could be created.

“In a sense, with Bordewich-Bray Elementary School just west of that, you’d have kind of this huge swath that’s an educational, arts complex,” Caterino said.

2003’s top BAC stories

August — Philip Caterino of Reno named new executive director. Caterino, 52, had worked with a number of non profits over the previous 30 years, mostly in historic preservation and land conservation. Also, BAC was awarded $36,000 in grants by the Nevada Arts Council. The Brewery received a two-year grant of $12,967 per year and a $10,000 grant from the council, which must go to restoration, equipment purchases and building rehabilitation.

September — The annual Beer Tasting – the BAC’s only real fund-raiser – nets about $13,000; marking a return to pre-9-11 giving trends. The art center only raised about $1,500 at the beer tasting directly following the attacks.

December — Longtime office manager Ann Suter is let go when the arts center downsizes as part of its master plan. Contract worker Kevin Ray is also let go while other employees have hours cut. “With non profits today, we all struggle,” Suter said. “But, you know, I figure we helped lay the foundation at the Brewery.”

Contact Karl Horeis at khoreis@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.