If you need more information for your article, please contact us!
The Bing Arts Center is envisioned as a focal point for creativity and imagination – a catalyst for economic development and improved quality of life. It is a gathering place serving all ages, ethnic groups, genders, orientation, and economic status, strengthening the community by offering appealing, accessible, alternative arts programming. This shared experience and enjoyment of the arts will foster development of the unifying bonds of community and civilization.
The Bing Arts Center, located at 716 Sumner Avenue in Springfield’s Forest Park neighborhood, is a multi-use hub for community cultural activity. Originally Kossaboom’s Service Station, the Bing Theater opened in 1950 and served several generations of area residents until 1999 when it was taken by the city of Springfield for non-payment of taxes.
The “X” Main Street Corporation (XMSC), a 501 c 3 non-profit, purchased the property from the City in 2004 for renovation and development as a community arts center to create a catalyst for economic development and improved quality of life.
Phase 1 Renovation
Phase one of the renovation project is complete and the front section of the building is now in use. In addition to the three art galleries, there is a performance, screening, and meeting space in the former lobby.
Preparations for the project’s second phase are underway. The 900 seat capacity auditorium will be reconfigured to incorporate a 60 seat cinema and 400 seat multi-purpose hall. The plans developed by Springfield architect Stephen Jablonski feature several imaginative features designed to maximize programming flexibility.
Phase 2 Renovation
We are now preparing for phase two, renovating the theater space and reclaiming it to use for performances and screenings. It will initially be configured for 300 to 350 seats. This will enable the Bing to dramatically expand programming and present regular film scheduling. There is plenty of room within the auditorium (original capacity of 900 seats) to eventually accommodate 75 seat and 450 seat performance/screening spaces. Phases 3 and 4 will finish development of the facility. Developed by Springfield architect Stephen Jablonski, the plans feature several imaginative features designed to maximize programming flexibility and patrons’ enjoyment and participation.
Jablonski DeVries Architects
“When I see the potential of the Bing and the way it’s being envisioned, is that it has the potential to attract a regional audience to Springfield.”
“As the arts are cut from schools, and they’ve taken hits along the way over the years, as a community we need to find ways to fill that gap. If you don’t allow children to experience the full range of opportuni – ties, I think they go through life in a one or two dimentional way. Where if they’re exposed to everything, whether they end up staying with sports and not going through the arts, or vice versa, they at least have all the choices laid out in front of them.”
City of Springfield
“We have so many opportunities to bring folks here. And I think if we create a world-class arts institute here at the Bing, we’ll get them here. I mean, economic development is critical. And the creative element is really going to help us sustain that.”
Springfield Symphony Orchestra
“I see it as this win-win for the not for profits in the community. In theater, in music, in art, in dance – I see it as one of the really good things happening for that neighborhood.”
“What I would say to someone who is cynical about the arts, well look at the economic development aspect of the arts. Maybe you say ‘I’m not creative, I’m not interested in the arts, I think they’re frivolous’ But if you look at a city like Austin, and you look at a place like San Antonio, Texas – which are growing because of places like the Bing, you know community-focused, community-centered professional arts centers – and I’d like to make that differentiation – that although its community-based, it’s still going to be, I believe, a professional venue that will offer opportunities for all kinds of people in the city of Springfield.”
City of Springfield
“They’re doing this on a shoe-string budget. Sweat equity and tears can not do it all. We need your generous consideration. Believe me, you want to take a look at the Bing Arts Center. Be part of something special, be part of the Bing Arts Center.”