Posts tagged with "Theaters":

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Shipping container "Globe Theater" proposed for Detroit

Angus Vail, a rock music business manager from New Zealand, wants to build a Shakespearean Globe Theater in Detroit. But rather than a heavy timber and plaster structure, like the 16th century version, he wants to build it out of shipping containers. Working with New York-based Perkins Eastman, Vail has conceived of a theater in the round that could host everything from Shakespeare to punk rock, both of his passions. Near the same dimensions as the original, the Container Globe would be constructed primarily out of 20-foot shipping containers. These containers would be cut to provided box seating, while additional 40-foot containers would make up the thrust stage. Walkways and stairwells would surround the seating, also like the original layout. The entire structure would then be wrapped in a flexible steel mesh. Vail has experience in working with containers, including a performance and arts pop-up in Jersey City. His career in the music industry has also given him insight into another possibly of the Container Globe: It could be mobile. Like many large stage shows, the Container Globe would be able to be broken down, packed up, and shipped to its next engagement. Vail says the main advantage of this is that it can be brought into under-served neighborhoods, where access to the performing art may be lacking. Initial renderings show the Container Globe in front of Detroit’s vacant Michigan Central Station. While Vail has named a handful of possible locations for the project, Detroit seems to be at the top of the list. And through the plan is to make the theater mobile, it has not been ruled out that it would be a permanent structure, with multiples of it built around the world. Currently, the team working to bring the Container Globe together is planning a crowdfunding campaign for early this year. A gallery exhibition is also in the works and set to open on February 2nd at ORA Gallery in New York, a gallery dedicated to New Zealand art and design.
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Houston's newest theater has its own two-story open-air “street”

To tell a story, three elements are crucial: setting, plot, and characters. To tell a story well, these three essentials require refinement and time to reveal them. The setting—Houston—provides the context, and the plot—how to design and build a new theater in Midtown—is compelling. The characters—a vibrant mix—complete the challenge that’s been thrown to Lake|Flato Architects and Studio RED.

Located off Main Street at the Ensemble/HCC MetroRail stop, the site was formerly a chain-linked parking lot for the city permit building. After years of planning and fundraising with a strong arts board and consultant and philanthropic pledges, the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH) came to life as a nimble metal-skinned building with glass-box theaters bisected by a double-height breezeway.

The $25 million community arts complex provides a central home base in Midtown for a spectrum of leading and emerging arts and culture organizations. The 59,000-square-foot facility consists of four dedicated theater spaces, rehearsal classroom spaces, and several gallery spaces, along with back-of-house support and office space.

Ryan Jones, an associate partner at Lake|Flato, knew that the building’s breezeway, with its grandstand and functional connective artery, was key, but it took some convincing that a two-story open-air “street” for media projections would thrive given the heat and humidity that swallow most days in Houston. The solution was to install six Big Ass Fans, which keep outdoor public spaces comfortable by exhausting hot air through the chimney effect.

The building’s agile presence does not overtake its program. For this new Midtown theater and arts center, the soul of the building is internalized, and life illuminates from within the breezeway, theaters, rehearsal spaces, and control booths. The building remains in the background, allowing the exuberance of theater life and the visual arts to stand in the limelight. Its skin and structure have a subdued, protective strength amid the bustle and frenzied transactions of Travis Street traffic that includes Main Street light-rail interruptions, bus stops, church, college, and urban passersby, daily logistics, ticket sales, and cafe pauses. For Lake|Flato and Studio RED, the decision to invite the street into the building is best exemplified by their addition of graffiti art by GONZO2047 where patrons’ names are tagged on the bathroom walls to merge high art and street culture.

Houston, as described by Barrie Scardino, Bill Stern, and Bruce Webb in their book Ephemeral City, was “built around characteristic features of modern life such as rapid change, built-in obsolescence, indeterminacy, media orientation, a culture of style, and instant gratification.” It is indeed an ephemeral city, hard to pin down and understand at large, but perhaps easier to encapsulate in one permeable space.

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2016 Best of Design Award in Building Renovation: The Strand American Conservatory Theater by SOM

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you.

2016 Best of Design Award in Building Renovation: The Strand American Conservatory Theater

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Location: San Francisco, CA

The Strand renovation provides a highly visible experimental performance space for the American Conservatory Theater within a formerly abandoned hundred-year-old movie theater on San Francisco’s Market Street. The space houses an intimate 285-seat proscenium theater, a public lobby and cafe, educational facilities, and a 120-seat black box theater and rehearsal space.

Care was taken to sensitively retrofit the shell of the former 725-seat cinema: The facade and structural supports were restored and essential modern theater elements were layered over the raw backdrop of the original building. Playing off of the building’s cinematic roots, the centerpiece of the lobby is a suspended two-story, 504-square-foot translucent LED scrim—the first permanent indoor usage of this technology.

Development and Project Manager, Financing Consultant Equity Community Builders

General Contractor Plant Construction Company LED Panel Winvision Concrete Specialist Bay Area Concrete Historical Architects Page & Turnbull

Honorable Mention, Building Renovation: PLICO at the Flatiron

Architect: Elliott + Associates Architects Location: Oklahoma City, OK

This project includes the renovation of a two-level 1924 flatiron building and the construction of a modern, yet complementary rooftop addition that relates in shape, scale, color, and detailing while differentiating itself through materials and setbacks.

Honorable Mention, Building Renovation: Temple Israel of Hollywood

Architect: Koning Eizenberg Architecture Location: Los Angeles, CA

The light-filled design for this progressive reform congregation was inspired by a fringed Tallit (prayer shawl), while the ark is placed within a sedimentary wall that includes rocks gathered from Israel by its congregants.

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1100 Architect transforms 80-year-old church into a performing arts center

The Berkeley Carroll School, Performing Arts Center—located on the northern ridge of Park Slope in Brooklyn—was once a church. Originally built in 1936, the structure has been transformed by New York firm 1100 Architect into a flexible theater and performance space.

The former 80-year-old church can now provide the pre-K Berkeley Carroll School with seating for 396 through a staggered seating arrangement that uses space freed up by the removal of the existing raised stage. Subsequently, the space can be reconfigured to serve as a lecture hall or venue for music, theater, events, and multi-media audio-visual performances.

After 1100 Architect responded to an RFP in 2014, construction began in March 2015. The center has now been open since September. "Both the faculty of the school and the student's parents are very impressed with the space that they now have," said associate principal Gwendolyn Conners, talking to The Architect's Newspaper.

Conners also explained how lighting and acoustic devices made the former church suitable for the school's needs. "The back wall required sound absorption most of all," she said. "We specified a perforated metal system with acoustic material behind. The perforated metal was ideal due to the school needing for it to be durable."
Sound absorbing panels also hang from the ceiling inside. The panels have been arranged by their density and distance from the stage: No panels are located at the front of the stage in order for sound to be reflected back to the immediate audience, meanwhile, to the back, the panel density is staggered to 50 percent coverage and then to 75 percent. Visually, this arrangement also allows members of the audience to glimpse the pre-existing dome above (which has now been illuminated from the inside with cove lighting). In addition to the dome, the church's simplistic neoclassical windows are a dominant feature both inside and out. Though they were never, as Conners said, "an ecclesiastical masterpiece," the windows illuminate the space with daylight—such as when the stage hosts theater and stage set classes. For performances, double-layered curtains are capable of shutting out sunlight when necessary, while also doubling up as sound absorbers.

Consultants:

Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Engineers: EME Group

Structural Engineering: Hage Engineering

Theater Consultants: Fisher Dachs Associates

Acoustical Consultants: Lally Acoustical consulting

Audio Visual Consultant: Boyce Nemec Designs

Code and Expediting Consultant: William Vitacco Associates Ltd.

General Contractor: Shawmut Design and Construction

Owners Representation: Seamus Henchy and Associates Inc.


Products and Vendors:

Acoustic panels at Ceiling:     Fabric: Guilford of Maine     Acoustic panel: Kinetics Noise Control HardSide

Acoustic panels at wall: Pani-Sorb modular Acoustical Wall Panels

Fixed seating:     Seating: Steeldeck Tip Up Bench Seating     Fabric: Knoll Hourglass

Loose seating:     Chairs: Knoll Spark Chairs     Fabric: Knoll Hourglass

Theatrical fixings Lighting: Barbizon Electric     Theatrical Lighting boards: Barbizon Electric     Rigging and Lighting Pipe Grid: I Weiss

Curtains:     Fabricator: I Weiss     Fabric: KM Fabrics, Seattle Fabrics Athletic Mesh

Flooring:     Stage Flooring: Oil-Tempered Hardboard on Robbins Flooring BioChannel     Linoleum Flooring: Forbo     Carpet: J&J Flooring Group, Broken Slate, Modular

Paint: Benjamin Moore

Signage: ASI New York

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OMA’s Taipei Performing Arts Center comes into view

Scaffolding on OMA's Performing Arts Center in Taipei has begun to come down, unveiling the building's bulbous facade. Made from aluminum, the facade encases the Proscenium Playhouse and Multiform Theater. An auditorium, the spherical Proscenium Playhouse caters for an audience of 800. Regarding its relationship to the main building, OMA said it "resembles a suspended planet docking with the cube." Audiences will circulate between an "inner and outer shell" to enter the space, meanwhile inside, "the intersection of the inner shell and the cube forms a unique proscenium that creates any frame imaginable." Also seating 800—and located within the sphere—is the Multiform Theater. A "flexible" space, the theater will play host to a range of experimental performances. It sits opposite the building's focal point: The Grand Theater. According to OMA, it will be "contemporary evolution of the large theater spaces of the 20th century." The Grand theater can be merged with its opposite partner to form the "Super Theater." Here, the "experimental, factory-like environment" will be able to accommodate productions that demand exceptionally large stage settings such as B.A. Zimmermann's opera Die Soldaten (1958), which requires a 100-meter-long stage. The Super Theater will also offer the chance for existing productions to be scaled up. According to the firm, the project aims to address the following questions: "Why have the most exciting theatrical events of the past 100 years taken place outside the spaces formally designed for them? Can architecture transcend its own dirty secret, the inevitability of imposing limits on what is possible?" Discussing their approach further, OMA added:
In recent years, the world has seen a proliferation of performance centers that, according to a mysterious consensus, consist of more or less an identical combination: a 2,000-seat auditorium, a 1,500-seat theatre, and a black box. Overtly iconic external forms disguise conservative internal workings based on 19th century practice (and symbolism: balconies as evidence of social stratification). Although the essential elements of theatre- stage, proscenium, and auditorium- are more than 3,000 years old, there is no excuse for contemporary stagnation. TPAC takes the opposite approach: experimentation in the internal workings of the theatre, producing (without being conceived as such) the external presence of an icon.
Construction on the project has so far taken four years and the Performing Arts Center is due to officially open in 2017. OMA won the commission to design the center in 2009. Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten are the two partners working on the project.
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SPORTS’s giant green ribbon lands in Chicago’s north suburbs

A glimpse of a bright green form caught my eye as I missed the driveway of the Ragdale Foundation estate north of Chicago. A red Ferrari was close behind my rental car, and I couldn’t slow down in time to make the turn. The 50-acre Ragdale estate is situated in the wooded Lake Forest community, home to some of Chicago’s wealthiest families. The green apparition I spotted was this year’s Ragdale Ring.

The Ragdale Ring is a temporary open-air theater designed each year by winners of the foundation’s Adrian Smith Prize. This year’s iteration, designed by Syracuse-based SPORTS, is entitled Rounds. Fittingly, the installation is an undulating arching ribbon creating a perfect 70-foot diameter circle in plan. Nestled in a clearing in the forested front of the estate, the piece ties into its surroundings with curving archways. The arches rise to different heights, forming varied elevated seating areas, passages to the center, and one large space designated for a stage. Each arch responds to different conditions around the site, such as the main house, the residency building, or an entry path. The mint green color is vibrant, yet complementary to its verdant surroundings.

Thanks to engineering assistance from Arup, the piece is constructed out of waffled framed plywood and stands with no visible support. Landscape architects Rosborough Partners prepared the site with subtle rises where the ribbon hits the ground—combined with a meticulous paint job, it is hard to understand exactly how the ring was built, even when standing close. The result is the appearance that the entire ring was brought as one piece, maybe dropped on the site by some playful aliens.

SPORTS is a design collaboration between architects Greg Corso and Molly Hunker, faculty members at the Syracuse School of Architecture. Corso, Hunker, and a small team lived at Ragdale for three weeks in order to construct Rounds. The Adrian Smith Prize provides a $15,000 production grant and Ragdale provides room and board for the entire team, who also takes part in communal dinners and has access to the property’s forest and prairies. 

The Ragdale property was originally the country home of Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. Shaw was also the designer of the original Ragdale Ring in 1912. That first open air theater was specifically designed for his playwright wife. This year’s ring is the fourth since Ragdale initiated a program to reimagine the original in 2013. Now an international competition, it calls for designs that “explore intersections of architecture, sculpture, landscape, design, public art, and performance disciplines.”

Ragdale is not normally open to the public. The property is kept private to provide space for its nearly 200 annual residents to work without interruption. Fortunately, the public can experience Rounds in person—tickets are available to the public for a small number of performances throughout the late summer. The next of these will be a jazz concert August 18. What better way to finish a picturesque drive through Chicago’s mansion-filled north suburbs, than with a jazz concert in an uncannily mint green theater?

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Fuksas designs two sculptural, tubular volumes in Tbilisi, Georgia

In the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, Rome–based architecture firm Fuksas, led by Massimiliano Fuksas and his wife and Doriana, have unveiled their second building: a music theater and exhibition hall along the Mtkvari river that flows through the city. Located in Rhike Park, the building's two programs—theater and exhibition space—are divided into to corresponding twin glass and steel tubular volumes. Standing next to an old retaining wall, the volumes appear to protrude out from the roadside toward the waterfront. Holding 566 seats, the Musical Theatre Hall sits to the North of the site and houses the foyer and other back-of-house facilities. Supported from the ground at the end, the volume acts, in Fuksas' words, as a "periscope" to the river and city, with views framed toward the old town of Tbilisi. The Exhibition Hall, unlike its counterpart, opens up at its end and features stairs leading up to the entrance. Fuksas's first project, also in Tbilisi, in Georgia came back in 2012. The Public Service Hall—just a stones throw away—uses a similar curvaceous, petal-like roof system that hangs over the predominantly glass facades. “It is important for every country to combine its great cultural tradition with contemporary architecture to create part of the country’s history of the future,” said Massimiliano Fuksas in 2015. “Tbilisi has a relevant historic legacy, which unfortunately has been left without any maintenance for the last 15 years. In this context, the plans to regenerate the city not only include the rehabilitation of the landmark of Tbilisi’s Old Town, but mostly to incorporate the requirements of a modern functional city.” According to Joshua Levine of the New York Times, the "grandiose" architecture currently being erected is intended to reflect the "virtues of Georgia’s kinder, gentler bureaucracy." However, it's not all good news for some Georgians. As Levine reports in 2013, preservationists argue that the government is favoring "slapdash commercialism" instead of paying respect to Tbilisi's history. The Times article quotes Gio Sumbadze, a resident artists, as calling it “facadism.” “I think the new buildings would be marvelous, but maybe someplace far away, like in the suburbs,” said Nino Sukhishvili, a local. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMjZzYljbBE
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New play explores mosque building in America

A new play, based on fictional events set in a Chicago suburb, explores the tension around building Mosques in the United States. Mosque Alert started out as a reaction to the debate surrounding the mosque planned, but never built, near the World Trade Center, New York City. The play revolves around three families in Naperville, IL, just outside of Chicago, as a mosque is planned to be built on a beloved historic site in their neighborhood. Written by Jamil Khoury, Mosque Alert was originally conceived as an online civic engagement project. In that spirit, the play was developed through community based workshops, with over 2,500 Muslims and non-Muslims participated over the last five years. As such, the characters of the play represent a broad demographic and set of ideologies around the topic. “I should thank Donald Trump,” playwright Jamil Khoury said in a press release. “If Mosque Alert was relevant when I first started, that relevance has since exploded. Today the play exists within a cultural zeitgeist animated by fears of immigrants, fears of Muslims, demographic anxiety attacks, and calls to erect walls and impose bans—a more optimistic read is that of one big messy America struggling to work it out for the better.” Director and Chicago native Edward Torres recently directed Macbeth for the Public Theater. He reflected on the themes of the play in a press release, saying “Mosque Alert gives voice to multiple American perspectives and exposes the fears at the heart of intolerance.” Silk Road Rising, the playhouse producing the play describes the production as “the intersections of zoning and Islamophobia with humor.” Park51, the mosque and community center planned for Lower Manhattan, and inspiration for the play, was controversially dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque" due to its relation to the World Trade Center Site. The original name of the project, designed by Michel Abboud in 2010, was "Cordoba House.” The reference was meant to evoke the peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians in the 8th Century Córdoba, Spain. After much debate, the project was eventually suspended and new plans were made for the site. Currently the owner is planning to build a Luxury condominium tower at the location. Mosque Alert will show from March 24th – May 1st, Thursdays through Sundays at the Historic Chicago Temple Building in downtown Chicago.            
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Inch by inch, the Times Square Palace Theater will be raised 29 feet to accommodate added retail

In any other circumstance, razing a beloved historic building elicits outrage from preservationists. This time, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) worked the homonym, approving plans to raise the Palace Theater, at the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 47th Street, by 29 feet. New York's PBDW Architects and historic preservation consultants Higgins Quasebarth & Partners will lead the theater-raising and subsequent renovation. The lift will allow for 10,000 square feet of retail space on four levels, a new entrance on 47th Street with a 75-foot marquee, back-of-the-house space, a lobby 25-times the size of the current one, plus new bathrooms, the Wall Street Journal reports. Indianapolis-based Maefield Development is financing the move and renovation. When complete, theatergoers will enter through an escalator on West 47th Street to access the mezzanine lobby. Completed in 1913, the 1,700-seat Beaux-Arts Palace was one of the largest vaudeville theaters in the city. Originally, the theater was ensconced in an office building on four sides, though that building was demolished in 1988. Currently, the 45-story DoubleTree hotel tower surrounds the structure. The LPC gave landmark status to the theater's interior in 1987. Though raising a theater in the middle of a crowded urban area poses some logistical challenges, the project management team is not worried. The existing truss will be reinforced. One part will be removed, and a full box will be built around the theater. Beams for the new platform will be installed before telescopic jacks are put into place. The jacks they are using have twice the capacity needed for the weight of the structure, just in case. The existing structure will be raised one inch at a time. Though approved, the plan faced opposition from some preservation groups concerned about the message—commerce > art—that the project sends. The nonprofit Historic District Council noted that:
It is not appropriate to move or obstruct access to an interior landmark to make way for private development, a request that seems to be on the rise as we saw last year with the clocktower at 346 Broadway. Approval of this application will be a clear communication of conscience, and indicative that our culture and art is merely secondary to a Times Square corporate chain store.
Proponents argue that the move allows both ground floor retail and expanded space for theater. Moreover, the Palace's interface with the street will be enhanced by the move, as the sidewalk on Seventh Avenue is too busy for theatergoers to linger around pre- and post-show. There's no word yet on dates for the move.
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Archtober Building of the Day 19> Theatre for a New Audience at Polonsky Shakespeare Center

Theatre for a New Audience at Polonsky Shakespeare Center 262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture “All the world’s a stage, and all men and women merely players.” At today's Archtober tour of the Theatre for a New Audience at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture's Geoff Lynch and David Haakenson explained how the firm took the Bard’s oft-quoted lines to their logical architectural conclusion. Before even entering the performance space, the theatre’s 60-foot-high hanging glass facade reveals the theater of urban life on the plaza below and invites passers-by to view the actions of theater-goers in the lobby space and balconies. According to our guides, the origins of the theater date back to the 1970s and '80s, when BAM President Harvey Lichtenstein re-envisioned Fort Greene as the Brooklyn Cultural District. While the BAMbus carted jittery Manhattanites to and from the outer borough, developers and architects renovated and built a number of cultural spaces in the neighborhood, including the BAM Majestic, the Bam Harvey Theater, and the BAM Fisher Building. As development moved in, the Theatre for a New Audience got knocked around to a number of different sites, like a chess piece. No matter where it moved, however, the actual theatre and its dimensions stayed the same. Inspired by the Cottesloe Theatre in London, the performance space itself has the proportions of an Elizabethan-style theatre. The 8-foot-6-inch balconies are significantly less high than those found in the majestic halls of Times Square, making the experience intimate, even from the “nosebleed section” on the second balcony. The U-shaped viewing areas also allow attendees to look at each other. A performance theater is not a movie theater, Lynch reminded us, and catharsis is experienced collectively. While Elizabethan in proportions, H3 Hardy made sure to give the Theatre for a New Audience a 21st-century upgrade. The balconies are fixed but seating isn’t, and the space can be rearranged to bring the imaginative visions of theater directors, no matter how eccentric, to the stage. Lynch noted that despite providing the theater with nine different floor configurations, on the opening night of its first production, Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the space was completely unrecognizable, a black box transformed into fairy woodland. Camila Schaulsohn is Communications Director and Editor-in-Chief of e-Oculus. She was born and raised in Santiago, Chile.
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Eavesdrop> First as Tragedy: What's up with LA's Greek Theater?

When the discussion for Los Angeles Recreation & Parks to give Live Nation the contract to manage The Greek Theatre were scuttled earlier this year, it was unclear what would come of the proposed modernization of the 5,900-seat venue by Rios Clementi Hale Studios. Word from inside the office says the project is moving forward with new designs to come, even as Pennsylvania-based SMG looks poised to win the event management contract.
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Architects and artists want to turn this vacant Detroit home into a community opera house

Detroit's 90,000 vacant homes and residential lots have proven to be fertile ground for artistic exploration, giving rise to verdant floral installations and canvases for sought-after graffiti artists. Now architects and artists from The D and beyond hope to turn an abandoned property at 1620 Morrell Street into something truly surprising. Dubbed House Opera | Opera House, the project aims to turn a decrepit, 2,000-square-foot house into a public performance space “where Detroiters could tell stories through music,” according to a Mitch McEwen, the project's principal architect. She spoke to WDET for their story, “From Blight to Stage Right”:
It evolved from a small group of artists in New York to a large group of folks across the country … neighbors have started to talk about performances or people in their families who perform that might get involved. And so we've really expanded from an immediate, emergency kind of dialogue to one that's about culture and talent that's already in the neighborhood, and how it can have a stage there at the House Opera.
McEwen bought the two-story home for just $1,200 in a public auction, paid off its delinquent property taxes, and got to work raising money for its second act. So far the project has received financial support from Graham FoundationKnight FoundationTaubman College – University of Michigan, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, as well as numerous individual benefactors including Mark Gardner, Theaster Gates and Dr. Larry Weiss.