Students, staff, friends and neighbors gathered on Friday, June 8 to celebrate the completion of renovations to the Center of Creative Arts historic building and mark the beginning of their expansion.  The event included groundbreaking festivities and a “first look” at the recently completed renovations.

In COCA’s customary non-traditional fashion, they broke ground not with dirt, but with the flare of colorful confetti and streamers. A student performance queued up the groundbreaking with a revised rendition of Hamilton’s “My Shot” re-written to tell the history of COCA and the notable Mendelsohn building. A celebration then followed with food and drink in the new Dierberg’s teaching kitchen and student performances in the newly restored performance lab. The evening concluded with an exciting announcement of a $5 million donation to COCA’s Create our Future Campaign.

In the existing building, six existing performing and visual arts studios were renovated and the original synagogue was restored and transformed into a flexible performance lab rehearsal space. The new $27 million addition will include a state-of-the-art 450-seat proscenium theater with back of house spaces and four new professional quality dance studios that will be shared with Washington University’s Master of Fine Arts in Dance program. Construction of the 54,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in Fall 2019.

As a leader in arts education, and the largest multidisciplinary arts institution in St. Louis, COCA offers innovative programming including classes and workshops in dance, theater, voice, and visual arts for children and adults. Christner is proud to serve as architect on this transformational project and help further COCA’s mission to enrich lives and build community through the arts.