Creating Our Future Capital Campaign

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For more than 85 years, Beck Center for the Arts has provided Northeast Ohio with enriching arts experiences that have transformed lives. What began as the volunteer-run Lakewood Little Theatre has evolved into a vibrant community arts center, offering 230 performances and 780 unique classes and workshops each year, serving more than 60,000 people annually. Anchoring the west end of Lakewood, Beck Center has grown into an arts destination with an economic impact of over $10 million annually in Northeast Ohio.

Sustaining and growing access to quality arts experiences remains at the heart of Beck Center’s mission -to inspire, enrich, and transform lives through dynamic arts experiences. More than 3,000 students of all ages participate each week in our award-winning programs in dance, music, theater, visual arts, early childhood, outreach, and creative arts therapies.  The demand for arts education continues to grow, yet the landscape of arts education in many schools has changed. Beck Center has become a critical resource for educators to supplement the need for arts education in the community.  We must expand and enhance our campus to meet these needs with vibrant, open, and accessible spaces. 

Beck Center is planning a future that will elevate our role as a leading arts center with the most diverse offerings in the state. This vision hopes to further stimulate economic development in Lakewood. Most importantly, it will transform our campus into a destination for nationally-recognized arts education, theater performances, and arts programming accessible to all. 

Students, patrons, and staff are our most treasured assets and we want to provide them with the best art experiences. For that reason, Beck Center is embarking on a $5.7 million capital campaign, Creating Our Future. With accessibility as a priority, and by elevating the programmatic experience, Beck Center will continue to attract the finest arts faculty, and lay a foundation to sustain the organization for decades to come. 

Transforming Arts Experiences

Beck Center continues to operate out of a 100+-year-old building, and has expanded over the past eight decades as demand for arts education has increased. Our current campus includes three buildings on three and one-half acres in the heart of Lakewood. These spaces include approximately 75,000 square feet of programmable space, as well as a 160-space parking lot. The capital renovation and financial sustainability projects of the Creating Our Future campaign will provide the needed resources for Beck Center to reimagine our existing spaces. The planned renovations will transform the separate buildings into a welcoming, accessible, and integrated campus. Changes to classrooms and rehearsal spaces will reflect the quality of our programming and meet growing demands. These improvements will provide a more versatile and effective learning environment, while fostering the creative process

Enriching Arts Education and Expanding Access

Beck Center for the Arts is committed to arts accessibility for everyone. We believe in improving access to arts experiences by removing physical and financial barriers. To follow through with this commitment, Beck Center will address the accessibility challenges the buildings on our campus pose. From the main entrance to the classrooms, the renovations undertaken in this campaign will make our entire campus fully accessible. 

Providing an opportunity for people of all ages to experience the arts is at the very foundation of the Beck Center mission.  Every age group, from infants to seniors, can experience the arts in our classrooms. Renovations to the visual arts and theater classrooms in the main building will allow access to all who participate. The improvements will include open and adaptable floorplans, upgraded lighting, and the use of technology to enrich our program offerings. Our talented and professional faculty will continue to provide the award-winning programming Beck Center is known for, yet with access to spaces and tools that will make their jobs easier, and enhance the classes they teach. Through educational environments, Beck Center provides space for students to build confidence, develop self-expression, and showcase their talents. The dedication and commitment our students demonstrate deserves to be rewarded with an investment in the physical spaces where they learn and grow. The Creating Our Future campaign will address the needs of our educational programs and our esteemed faculty.

Sustaining Our Future: Program Initiatives Launch Pad & Financial Sustainability

As a multi-discipline arts organization, Beck Center must continually evolve and change to reflect the needs of students and patrons. We will establish a Program Initiatives Launch Pad, a Board-directed fund which will give Beck Center the flexibility to invest in new program initiatives, including outreach efforts and technology.  It will provide Beck Center with the ability to explore how we can integrate emerging trends in arts performance and education into our programming. This fund will allow the organization to creatively initiate new ideas for growth and collaboration in the future. Additionally, it will allow Beck Center to pursue its vision of connecting people, communities, and cultures through the arts.

Strengthening Our Community: The Central Gateway

As one of the top five performing arts centers in the Cleveland area, Beck Center is an artistic and economic engine for our local economy. Beck Center is the largest employer of arts educators in the region, and the largest producer of musical theater in Northeast Ohio. As a producing theater, we operate all aspect of our theatrical productions from start to finish. We choose each play, cast and rehearse it. We build the sets, props, and costumes. We direct and perform the music, and design lighting and sound while utilizing regional resources and talent. We hire professional actors from across Northeast Ohio, including members of Actors’ Equity Association. Based on the number of seats, number of performances, and the weekly hours of work we provide to actors, Beck Center is classified as a Small Professional Theater. 

The Creating Our Future campaign will further strengthen our local impact. The campus renovations will infuse artistic vibrancy into the landscape of the western end of Lakewood. Beck Center will become an anchor and catalyst for further economic development in our region. The Creating Our Future campaign will transform Beck Center into a stronger, more connected, accessible, and active arts destination for the future.

Bryan Buchko