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Arts Center unveils building plans, appoints board
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ST. PETERSBURG - Arts Center Executive Director Evelyn Craft and Board Chairman Richard O. Jacobs welcomed a slate of new trustees to the board and introduced Albert Alfonso, president of Alfonso Architects Inc. to the packed audience at the Arts Center Annual Meeting on Dec. 14.

Arts Center members, local business owners and artists were presented a conceptual schematic design presentation by Albert Alfonso Jr., architect for the new $20 million Arts Center facility, gallery space, the Dale Chihuly Collection at the Arts Center and state-of-the-art glass-blowing Hot Shop.

Harkening back to the Bauhaus school and landmark buildings created by Walter Gropius, Alfonoso Architects' design incorporates philosophical elements of both the Arts Center and Bauhaus missions to unify a community through artistic expression.

Drawing on the historic aspects of the former Landmark Union Trust Bank, built in Classic Revival style in 1925, the plans include incorporating the now-vacant building into the new plans, with the most prominent feature being a glass-enclosed access point to the roof garden, which connects to the Hot Shot and the Dale Chihuly Collection at the Arts Center building.

Other features include:

- A public-art filled forecourt with space for outdoor events and receptions

65,000 square feet total - 10,000 to 15,000 square feet of exhibition space

- Cantilevered glass walkway etched with process paintings

- Dramatic roof sculpture garden on top of the Arts Center

- Stadium seating for 100 in the Hot Shop, as well as a catwalk circling above the Hot Shop floor

- Dramatic second story walkway with open viewing into galleries and studios below will connect the Hot Shop, the Arts Center exhibition space and the Chihuly Collection at the Arts Center.

- Glass pieces will be embedded in the iconic Hot Shop faced on the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and First Avenue North.

Completion date for the new building is expected to be July 2008.

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