Rangely Friends of the Arts

THE DRAWING BOARD – January 2013

In early 2009, Knickerbocker Group began working closely with community enthusiasts spearheading an effort to revitalize downtown Rangeley. The outcome of the group’s initial efforts was a $50,000 grant from the PARC Foundation to kick off the first phase of the revitalization effort. Through that experience, Knickerbocker Group connected with Rangeley Friends of the Arts (RFA), who asked them to conceptualize RFA’s dreams for a new performing arts center. RFA already owned the land—a vacant parcel just off Main Street and adjacent to the school, a location well suited for the goal of reinforcing after-school and community activities in the arts.

Through a series of stakeholder meetings, Knickerbocker Group developed a program that included a 350- to 375-seat theater and classroom spaces for a multitude of creative arts, including pottery, dance, music, and visual arts. Initial concepts were focused on a single large building with separate classrooms for each use. In 2012, working with a newly energized board, the architectural team took RFA’s vision to another level, and the plan has now evolved into two buildings. This approach offers several benefits: it allows for better control of the center’s massing; it gives the nonprofit an opportunity to phase the construction as funding allows; and it will increase the connectivity between the studio spaces and the outdoors. The two buildings are framed around a center courtyard, blurring the indoor/outdoor line and engaging classrooms with other activities on campus. The outdoor green will be the hub of activity and a space for art fairs, concerts, and performances. Within the theater building, a 2,400-square-foot lobby will double as a gallery for art exhibitions or larger installations. North-facing glass will provide natural daylighting and allow direct flow from the gallery to the outdoor amphitheater. The overall concept is one of flexible spaces designed to nurture the creation of the arts and to offer the community a means to appreciate it.

Location: Rangeley

Architect: Rick Nelson, AIA; Knickerbocker Group

Square footage: 12,800

Construction start: 2016

Construction complete: 2018


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