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For the week of Feb 5 - 12, 2002


SV residents review
arts center proposal

Express Staff Writer

A proposed arts center in Sun Valley received a favorable response from Sun Valley residents at the city’s town meeting on Jan. 29 at the Sun Valley Inn.

At one point, applause broke out after an audience member congratulated the city, saying "Those communities that are great communities have vision."

Sun Valley Mayor Dave Wilson and Aspen architect Harry Teague presented the conceptual work done on the arts center to the audience of about 125 people.

Teague is the architect behind the designs of the Benedict Music Tent and the Harris Concert Hall in Aspen.

But Teague is more than an architect. He helps arts communities to join together in figuring out the kind of facilities they need, and then helps them begin the process of becoming a non-profit organization that can financially sustain the facilities.

"I am advocating a consortium of different groups, an umbrella of the arts, to make and keep making the money," he said.

Teague told the audience that building an arts center "is an incremental process toward creating a good community. The ideal is to bring the community along."

The proposed site is a five-acre parcel of land contiguous to Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church on Sun Valley Road.

Teague said that when he saw the property, he thought it "uniquely and ideally suited for this type of arts facility," one which included many if not all the different groups in the valley’s arts community.

He presented a possible "footprint" of buildings on the site, which he called "a conceptual preliminary master plan," stressing that what he was presenting was just "conjecture."

The collection of buildings, such as an outdoor amphitheater, a large indoor theater and a youth center would "allow interaction of the different arts groups, to benefit each other synergistically."

One of the more controversial elements of the current "footprint" is an underground parking lot for 250 vehicles.

Wilson told the audience that Sun Valley and Ketchum would both be needing more parking in the near future.

Wilson said parking was already a problem along Sun Valley Road when the Catholic Church and St. Thomas Episcopal Church hold services at the same time.

Underground parking would not only serve the arts center but relieve the parking problem from other events like church services.

Wilson and Teague both envisioned the arts center as a city center where pedestrian traffic would not only originate but where it would be drawn.

Some audience members were concerned about the mandate for an arts center, rather than using the property for something else.

Wilson and Teague assured the audience that part of the process of building an arts center is to make sure it has community backing.

Wilson told the audience that the city was not going to be responsible for building and maintaining an arts center. Rather, the city was offering the five acres on a long-term lease to a consortium that built and maintained the center.

But, he said, an arts center may never happen. The property may simply remain undeveloped.

Still, building it is his goal, Wilson said. "I want to be able to look back 20 years from now, and be able to say that was a great idea."


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.