The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) has taken the lead in commissioning a study to look at a potential new performing arts center.
The announcement came as a surprise to many in the arts community who questioned EDAWN’s intentions for the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts.
The Pioneer was singled out in a Northern Nevada Business Weekly (NNBW) news brief as potentially being replaced.
“The new facility would replace the decades-old Pioneer Center in downtown Reno,” NNBW reported in March.
EDAWN CEO Mike Kazmierski said nothing is for sure, and that’s what the feasibility study is looking to determine.
“The sense is that the old guard there is (fine) with what they have,” he said in reference to the Pioneer.
A new performing arts center could be on the horizon pending results from the study. EDAWN is raising $70,000 to complete the study and has raised about half that amount from private individuals.
“Is it feasible? Is it something we need?” Kazmierski asked. “When we start the study, it doesn’t mean we start the building tomorrow. What we have now from a perming arts venue perspective is not we we may want in five to 10 years.”
EDAWN invited a select group to meet to weigh in on options, which included six private investors who donated to the study, local government representatives, members of the arts community, the university and elected officials.
“I went to the arts community and got their recommendations (as to who should attend the meeting),” he said. Pioneer Center representatives were included.
Kazmierski said the study came about because “many of the people we deal with are leaders in the community have expressed concern that we are not representing the community well from the performing arts perspective.
“That’s what a feasibility does for you. We need to take a look at this; that’s the purpose of the study.”
Historian Alicia Barber noted that the Pioneer Center, built in 1967, was listed in 2004 in the National Register of Historic Places.
“It is the lone monumental survivor of the gold-anodized geodesic dome in Nevada,” she wrote on Facebook. “So if anyone out there is thinking of knocking it down, think again, pal.”