18-11-07 ARTS argyros theater Roland.jpg

Construction crews work on the Argyros theater in late October.

    Get ready, arts aficionados in the Wood River Valley: The Argyros Performing Arts Center is almost ready for the limelight—and musician Peter Cetera will be on hand to help usher in the new facility at a debut bash on Nov. 23.

    The theater’s construction on Main Street in downtown Ketchum is now 90 percent complete, and the fundraising campaign fueling its development is almost complete as well.

    Once construction is finished, a lively arts and culture scene that already features the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference and much more will have another jewel in its tiara.

    The Argyros will host year-round events, including music, theater, dance, lectures and children’s activities, from groups such as the Center for the Arts, the Summer Symphony, the Sun Valley Film Festival, the Sun Valley Opera, Ballet Sun Valley and others.

    The capital campaign, spearheaded by the nonprofit Sun Valley Performing Arts Center, has raised $14 million of a $15 million goal. That campaign funded construction of the Argyros, which will have up to 462 seats, studio space with up to 49 seats, a café and an outdoor plaza.

    When the theater opens on Nov. 23, Cetera, the rock star and longtime Wood River Valley resident, will perform with his band in an invite-only concert. A cocktail reception will also be offered.

    On Nov. 24-25, the facility will be open to the community.

    “Enjoy cameo performances by Wood River Valley artists who contribute to the rich and vibrant cultural scene,” the performing arts center stated on its website. “Events will feature live musical, dance, comedy and theatrical entertainment in the theater, a block party, food trucks and the opportunity to learn more about the Argyros.”

    The theater has a grand opening scheduled for Dec. 27. The performing arts center’s debut is the culmination of a process and vision that began 18 years ago.

    “Inspired by founding benefactors Julia and George Argyros, a group of passionate, forward-thinking patrons came together and realized a shared vision—a year-round home for diverse arts and cultural organizations, as well as a stage for national and international artistic offerings,” Argyros Executive Director Doug Rankin said in a news release.

    Julia and George Argyros, both renowned philanthropists, helped launch the fundraising effort with a $2.5 million contribution. The Mott family and the Michael E. Marks Family Foundation contributed another $2 million to get the capital campaign rolling.

    “The Sun Valley area has become known as much for its culture as for its spectacular natural surroundings,” Rankin said. “This modern, technologically advanced theater facility will advance that reputation as a cultural destination for local audiences and visitors alike.”

    The capital campaign is in its closing stages, but donations are still being accepted for founding donors. Founding donors who give $1,000 or more will be “recognized permanently with a star in the theater lobby,” the news release stated.

    Patron-level donors give between $10,000 and $99,000, and will receive invitations to the inaugural season and to the opening celebration Nov. 23.

    The calendar for the first few months is already taking shape:

  • On Dec. 6, Girls on the Run is presenting the LUNAFEST film festival.
  • On Dec. 9, the Wood River Orchestra will perform.
  • On Dec. 21-23, the Hallelujah Chorus will perform.
  • The grand opening is set for Dec. 27.
  • World famous mezzo-soprano singer Kate Aldrich has a concert scheduled for Dec. 28, presented by the Sun Valley Opera.
  • On Dec. 29, Boise-based arts group LED will perform, presented by the Center for the Arts.
  • Grammy-nominated musician Dr. Martin Taylor will perform with guitarist Laurence Juber on Jan. 11.
  • Montréal, Quebec-based musical group Bon Débarras will perform on Jan. 18, presented by The Center.
  • A musical theater tribute to composer Jerry Herman will happen on Jan. 19.
  • A performance by classical pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is scheduled for Jan. 29.
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