Where Adventure, Dreams and Inspiration Begin – Update on Raven and the Unicorn Performing Art Center


Left to right: Summer Odell Ovies, Artistic Director of Artesan Dance Company; James Theimer, Principal Architect of Trilogy Architecture and lead architect of Raven and the Unicorn Performing Arts Center; Margaret Johnson, Co-Founder/Director of Redding School of the Arts; Daria O’Brien, Capital Campaign Director of the Foundation for Promoting Arts Education. Photo by Tracey Hedge, Firefly Mobile Studios, http://www.firefly2u.com

It’s been an exciting year for the Raven and the Unicorn, a proposed 800-seat theater designed specifically for child-centered performing arts programs and educational opportunities. The theater is still on track to become the first children’s theater in the world to be platinum-certified through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, demonstrating the ultimate in environmentally sustainable construction and technologies.

With generous public support, Foundation for Promoting Arts Education (FPAE) has increased its project awareness by hosting diverse, incredible performances throughout the North State. George Winston, New West Guitar Group, Autumn Theater Ballet and its first annual Kool Classic Car Show are some of the 2014 highlights.

FPAE has had positive feedback from 20 grantors as the foundation successfully completed its first full internal audit. They have also joined forces with world renowned Artesan Dance Company and will provide the North State’s first professional Works-in-Progress performance series led by Artistic Director and Choreographer Summer Odell Ovies.

Development of the theater’s design is ongoing. In a recent decision by its design team, plans now include the concept of “universal design.” Universal design recognizes there is a wide spectrum of human abilities and it purposefully designs to encompass that diversity.

Incorporating universal design is another step in creating a truly unique children’s performing arts center – a place not only where children can safely and comfortably learn and perform, but also where everyone, regardless of physical, perceptual and cognitive abilities and challenges, can appreciate the performances.

Theaters, with their sloped floors and fixed seating, are among the most challenging structures to design for accessibility. To succeed, the Raven and the Unicorn design team will create an all-inclusive environment. Ramps will be fun and easy pathways through the facility, with art displays along the way. The seat and aisle design will accommodate the uniqueness of its audience throughout, rather than in just a few “special” areas. Signage will be graphic-based, not language based, and restrooms will allow for ease of use. Technology will be utilized to provide devices for listening and visual enhancement throughout the facility. These ideas and more will be incorporated into the facility.

Raven and the Unicorn aspires to bring hope and expand hearts through creating a cutting-edge, multipurpose arts facility that inspires and illuminates the childhood spirit.  The theater will be located at 959 Inspiration Way in Redding, California.

To find out more about the project and ways you can contribute, visit http://www.ravenandtheunicorn.org or contact Margaret Johnson at (530) 225-8610 or Daria O’Brien at (530) 515-1057. Also read this article about the theater published last year in North State Parent: http://www.northstateparent.com/Raven&Unicorn2013.

North State Parent
About North State Parent

North State Parent is a free monthly publication that circulates within five California counties: Butte, Glenn, Shasta, Southern Siskiyou and Tehama. Our pages are filled with family-oriented places to go, services and products geared for women and things to do; a focus on parenting, community, health, education, teens, youth, and much more.

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