Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center
During 1998, a group of visionary leaders in the Stowe community identified the need for a performing arts center to improve the quality of life in the historic alpine village of Stowe, Vermont. That commitment remained strong and after nearly a decade of feasibility studies and concept processes, these individuals, along with other like-minded individuals and businesses, financed their dream. They broke ground in 2008 with a vision to have the performing arts center be a focal point and gathering place for the entire community. Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center opened on December 27, 2010, creating a modern performance center equipped to handle the needs of artists and audiences alike. Popular artists like Broadway star Ben Vereen, and the incomparable musical artist James Taylor, performed to sold-out audiences and helped SPA become a wonderful and important part of the fabric of day-to-day life for the children, students, families, adults, teachers and seniors.
Architecturally, the performing arts center is clad in red cedar shingles, with a cedar frieze, columns and fascias, pine soffit, dark framed windows, and large sheltering roofs that help it both blend in and stand out at the foot of Mount Mansfield. The interiors of the lobby and 420-seat auditorium are finished in warm Douglas Fir panels and Vermont green slate. Local VT blacksmith and artist, Richard Spreda, created the custom chandelier that punctuates the tall, truss-roofed lobby.
The performance space is a simple barn-like rectangle with a heavy timber, truss roof, low slope floor, and intimate connection between the audience and the stage. Planned with an adjustable proscenium, it opens as wide as the auditorium. This flexible space allows extension of the seating onto the stage, use of the box seating areas as side stages and the opportunity for reception and banquet functions both on and off stage. There are state-of-the-art acoustics, audio and projection systems, and the tension wire grid and catwalks keep staging simple and flexible.
Over the years, the community has benefited from incredible performances and residencies by exceptional artists including Dance Theatre of Harlem, violin virtuoso Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, the Perlman Music Program, Great Big Sea, Taj Mahal, Josh Panda and the Hot Damned, Belle Pines, jazz singer Audrey Bernstein, Scrag Mountain Music, Grand Derangement, Outerbridge Clockwork Mysteries, and the Aquila Theatre of New York production of Cyrano de Bergerac. The commitment, energy and enthusiasm to create a world-class performing arts center for the community remains as strong today as it was in 1998.
The Spruce Peak Arts Center’s mission is to inspire, educate and entertain students, families, youth, seniors, schools and community organizations, all year round.