A proposed arts and innovation center would cater to artists, art enthusiasts, filmmakers and innovators of all kinds, according to a presentation made Wednesday to the Tyler City Council.
Among the planned project features are a two-floor art gallery, an art incubator, a performing/culinary arts lab, including a theater, film lab with green screen and culinary demonstration area, Assistant City Manager Susan Guthrie said. The project would be housed at the S.A. Lindsey Building, located at 123 S. Broadway Ave.
Ms. Guthrie said the existing Gallery Main Street on West Erwin Street would be moved into the facility, and there would be offices, a gift store area and a reception area.
On the third floor, she said, would be an arts incubator that would provide space for artists to perform their craft. She said there would also be a business center, and artists would have the chance to display and sell their products.
The performing/culinary arts lab is slated to go on the fourth floor, Ms. Guthrie said.
She said there would be a raised stage that could be moved, and young filmmakers would have access to equipment.
She said a “maker space” part of the project would involve “the convergence of innovation, invention, art and technology.”
“People are inventing things. They’re creating art,” she said.
Ms. Guthrie said the project would be done in three phases as funding permits. She said the first phase would include doing infrastructure work, the gallery and the art incubator; the performing/culinary arts lab would be in the second phase; and the third phase would be the maker space. According to City Council communication, primary funding is expected to come from donations.
Justin Reese, who works on short films with friend Kenny Rigsby, said the project “sounds incredible.”
He said he can see it as an important resource for independent filmmakers and is excited about how it could potentially affect student filmmakers.
“I hope it will be good place for students to … work out of,” Reese said.
Filmmaker Samuel Haun said, “I think it gives people a chance to grow and develop something. People are here. They just need something to anchor on.”
Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass said Wednesday that the proposed arts and innovation center is an exciting project, and thanked the task force that has worked on it.
Planning started in July 2013, when Mayor Bass appointed a task force to provide recommendations for the S.A. Lindsey Building, according to City Council communication.
The 50,000-square-foot building, which is eight floors and vacant, was gifted to the city in 2010 by the R.W. Fair Foundation and the Fair Estate, Ms. Guthrie said.
She has said the building is a great space for public use, given the Fair Plaza Garage project under construction nearby.
Ms. Guthrie said the task force has been meeting for about seven months, and conducted an arts inventory and arts need analysis, among other efforts. She has said efforts also included a lot of research.
“There’s been … a lot of outside work done to bring the best ideas,” she added.
Task force members eventually voted on six final concepts to recommend to council members, according to City Council communication.
Butler Architectural Group “developed cost estimates, renderings and a phasing plan.”
Meanwhile, the building is “primed and ready for renovation,” Ms. Guthrie has said.
For more information or to donate, visit www.tylerartscenter.com .