Tuacahn Center for the Arts has launched a $2.6 million fundraising campaign to increase seating and to build a new arts center.
CEO Kevin Smith said the expansion will accommodate demand for its season-ticket shows and growing enrollment in Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts. The Tuacahn Amphitheatre lost an estimated 20,000 attendees during last season's sold-out shows because its current 1,920-seat stadium couldn't hold them, he said. The high school's current enrollment of 350 students is set to hit 450 in three years, Smith said.
"We could probably grow faster, but we need to slow down to do it incrementally and do it right," Smith said. "Tuacahn belongs to the people of Utah, but we encourage everyone from all 50 states to help make us the crown jewel of performing arts in southern Utah."
With its stage complemented by 1,500 feet of redrock cliffs in Padre Canyon, Tuacahn has grown to become a major performing-arts destination next to Snow Canyon State Park in Ivins, outside St. George.
The new arts center will be shared by professional cast members of Tuacahn's productions, as well as students from the nearby charter school. The expansion will add 200 seats to the flanks of existing amphitheater seating, with folding chairs toward the first third of each side, graduating up into "lawn-style" seating that will accommodate lawn chairs and blankets.
One-quarter of the $2.6Â million has been raised already from existing donors, including the George S. and Dolores DorÃ© Eccles Foundation, L. Douglas and Marian Bird Smoot and David and Carol Hansen, Smith said.
There's no set date for the fundraising goal, but Smith said he expects funds to be raised within a year so that the seating expansion and arts center can be completed one year afterward.
"If we need a little more time, that's OK," he said. "But the announcement is coming at the right time with the growth of the school and audience. It allows those already supporting us to contribute to that goal, and hopefully attract new supporters. More than 25 percent of our audience last year had never been to Tuacahn before."
Founded in 1995 as a nonprofit organization, Tuacahn Center has since grown into a $10 million annual budget contributing an estimated $55 million in economic impact to the state.
Where • 1100 Tuacahn Drive, Ivins
Musical tickets • $21.50-$31.50; at 800-746-9882 or 435-652-3300, or visit tuacahn.org for more information.
Shows • "Aladdin" runs from June 4 throughOct. 19; "Hairspray" plays June 9-Oct. 19.
Also • For concerts and special events, visittuacahn.org.