Homer Council on the Arts is changing course on its new performance space. Since 2016, the council was planning to make the Mary Epperson Performance Art Center a yurt and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the project.
But now HCOA is planning on constructing a permanent building. Executive Director Peggy Paver says the change came when she met with a M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust representative to secure the last bit of funding for the space.
"When we sat down at the table with her, we were very excited and she said, 'we love your project,'" Paver remembered. "[The representative said] 'However, we're not really interested in funding a temporary structure with portable bathrooms. Think bigger.'"
Paver reimagined the space, which will be near HCOA, behind Save-U-More.
"What I'm thinking right now is the structure being a basic timber-frame-structure because that allows for a lot of opportunity for the space inside to transform so that it can be a small performance space, a medium size performance space," she said. "It can be a class space, it can be a community gathering space, it could be that community center that we don't have currently in Homer."
She’s envisioning an open building with the capacity to seat roughly 180-200 people. Paver estimates it will cost upwards of $500,000. But at this point, she’s not worried about funding.
"I feel really confident that when we have really solid numbers, I'll be able to go in and get a high number from Murdock," she said. "What I need is to know from the community is that this is what they want, that they're behind it and to have people come to the table to help with the redesign, with the budgeting and with the construction project."
Paver hopes to break ground next summer. She encourages those who want to take part in the project to call the HCOA office or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.