A Statement from the Performance Center:
Rebuilding the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Asheville Area Center for Performing Arts has reviewed the rebuilding of Thomas Wolfe Auditorium as recently proposed by the Civic Center Commission, and has concluded that it addresses most of the critical issues that AACPA has hoped to resolve with a totally new facility. Acoustics, sight lines, audience access and comfort, and stage logistical access would all be vastly improved if the full project as presented were accomplished. However, the facility would still lack rehearsal space, as well as the stage dimensions and logistical access necessary for the largest Broadway productions that appear in Durham or Greenville. AACPA believes that a new facility that would also meet those objectives could be constructed at a cost less than the $100 million estimated for the complex reconstruction of Thomas Wolfe.
Nonetheless, AACPA recognizes that an all-new facility would require land and parking, as well as the type of governmental (City, County and TDA) support anticipated in the TWA project proposal. The land and parking would, of course, involve significant additional expenditures unless available on an existing publicly owned site. After more than a decade of discussions with local political, charitable and business leaders, and evaluation of numerous proposed sites, AACPA believes it is unlikely that such a site will be available, or if found would attract as high a level of City, County and TDA support as would the proposed reconstruction of TWA. AACPA also recognizes that if TWA is not rebuilt, the City would eventually be forced to incur significant expense to either preserve or demolish the existing structure.
For these reasons, AACPA is supportive of the proposed reconstruction of Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, if the full project, as proposed, can be accomplished. The reconstructed TWA would greatly enhance the quality and variety of live productions available to Asheville-area residents and our many visitors, spanning a wide range of major popular-music performers, orchestral and other performing arts, and quality Broadway productions. By providing the type of facility that is already available in all of North Carolina’s other ten largest cities, it would fill an embarrassing gap in Asheville’s entertainment infrastructure.
AACPA believes that for the project to proceed, it is essential that our governmental, business and charitable leaders take the initiative to actively promote the project and to develop avenues to provide the required funding. AACPA will monitor efforts to realize the proposed reconstruction, while also remaining alert for possible alternative solutions. At such time as AACPA becomes satisfied that there is sufficient community leadership support to achieve the reconstruction, it will evaluate ways in which its own financial resources could help achieve its long-held dream of a first-class performance venue for Asheville.
For information on the plan: TransformTheWolfe.com