Exploring the center Plano ISD’s new Robbie &b Lynore Robinson Fine Arts Center was designed to accommodate multiple performances and shows at a time. In addition to the performance areas, the facility features a scene shop for working on props and multiple dressing rooms.
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the role of The Scarecrow. She said she has not yet had a chance to see the district’s new Robbie & Lynore Robinson Fine Arts Center in person. However, Abbie said she is looking forward to the opportunity to perform in the center’s many spaces. “[Fine arts are] something that we can all enjoy together,” Abbie said. That sense of togetherness is an important part of why district leaders wanted to construct the 82,200-square-foot ne arts center, according to Missy Bender, presi- dent-elect of the PISD Education Foundation board. The foundation launched an endowment campaign in May with the goal of making an annual contribution of $150,000 to help pay for the center’s operating costs. “In Plano, we have valued provid- ing many dierent opportunities for [students] to nd their home, and one of those places is the ne arts,” said Bender, who was a member of the PISD board of trustees when the cen- ter was approved. “If [students] nd their home in the visual or performing arts, they can also have a home here where they can celebrate that with the community.” The $67.5 million facility is expected to open later this year, according to Superintendent Sara Bonser. Its ven- ues include the Main Stage Audito- rium, the Studio Theater, the Dance/ Rehearsal Studio, an outdoor Perfor- mance Lawn and the Legacy Gallery. Building the center The ne arts center was approved as part of PISD’s $481 million bond refer- endum in 2016. It was originally expected to be built at 1800 Alma Drive by late 2019, but weather-related issues delayed the start of construction until April of that year. Inclement weather and pan- demic-related complications delayed a previously planned opening for earlier this year, Bonser said. The facility will be a place for the district’s nearly 23,000 ne arts stu- dents in seventh to 12th grades to cele- brate their passions, she said. “We are known for the quality of our arts programs—ne arts [and] per- forming arts—and our kids are excel- lent,” Bonser said. “They aspire [to] and achieve excellence in the arts, and to have a facility that matches their level of commitment to the arts is absolutely the right thing for this community.” PISD Director of Fine Arts Kathy
TheMain Stage Auditorium features 1,502 seats with a balcony. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Studio Theater is a black box-style space that seats up to 250 people. (WilliamC. Wadsack/ Community Impact Newspaper)
Legacy Gallery can feature art displays. (WilliamC. Wadsack/ Community Impact Newspaper)
The Dance/Rehearsal Studio can be used for 120musicians, 30 dancers or 200meeting attendees. (WilliamC. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
George “Robbie” Robinson and his wife, Lynore Robinson, moved to Plano in 1981 to develop Legacy Business Park. The art gallery at the RFACwill be named Legacy Gallery in tribute to Robbie Robinson’s work. Later in his life, Robbie Robinson worked with the Plano Symphony Orchestra, Plano Arts & Cultural Endowment Inc., Collin County Cultural Arts District Committee and Arts of Collin County Commission. He died in 2020, two years after his wife. (Courtesy Plano Chamber of Commerce) Meet the Robinsons
SOURCE: PLANO ISD COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Kuddes said the center is essentially four separate buildings that were built inside a large building. “They’re on separate slabs so that acoustical noise doesn’t travel from one space to the other,” she said. Events hosted at the center will include University Interscholastic League music and theater competi- tions, concerts, senior high school musicals and shows from outside arts groups, according to district sta. “Basically, we’re booking up to July of 2022 in order to accommodate standing PISD events as well as ne arts events for the school year,” said Weston Keifer, technical manager for the ne arts center. Performanceopportunities The center’s Main Stage Audito- rium will be the largest venue in the district. It will host shows from all grade levels, district sta said. “We know [that] everybody’s going to want to use this [stage], but it’s going to be very precious,” said Jamee Jolly, senior executive director of the PISD Education Foundation. “So we’ve actually got other spaces [that students] can rehearse in, prac- tice in and perform in throughout the building.” One community group that already
Plano,” he said. “We’re thrilled that even though he is now not with us that he will always have his name attached to a performing arts center here in Plano.” In addition to performances the facility will host, the district plans to start a training program for students interested in the technical aspects of putting on a show. “We’re hoping to use some of [the district’s students] as our crew for some of these outside shows as well as helping out with the other PISD events that might not come with their own crew,” Keifer said. Not including personnel costs, the district’s budget for ne arts programming is around $1.8 million this year. The anticipated opening of the ne arts center this year did not change the district’s budget. How- ever, the center’s programming costs will be taken into consideration for future budget cycles, according to sta. Operating costs at the center are expected to be between $400,000- $500,000 per year for the district, Kuddes said.
has plans to use the center in Decem- ber is the Plano Symphony Orchestra. “It’s a shame that we don’t [cur- rently] get to perform in Plano that often,” Executive Director Robert A. Reed said. “We denitely want to have a presence [at the ne arts center] on a yearly basis, [though] to what degree the presence is really [is] yet to be determined.” The Eisemann Center for Perform- ing Arts and Corporate Presentations in Richardson currently hosts many of the performances put on by the Plano Symphony Orchestra. Man- aging Director Bruce C. MacPherson said many local arts groups will want to test out PISD’s new ne arts center. “There’s not too many miles [of] distance between us, but I think our programming models are dierent,” he said. “I’m just excited that [PISD is] able to have a venue like this, [and] that the students of the district are going to have great opportunities The ne arts center was named in honor of Robbie and Lynore Robin- son, who Reed said were longtime champions of the arts in Plano. “Robbie was a driving force of get- ting a performing arts center here in to hone their skills.” Running the facility
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