The arts center will be part of the Northwood – The Famuan project

The Northwood Center, before being razed and purchased by the city. Photo credit:

The Tallahassee City Commission had a lot to do on Wednesday, but nothing stood out like the future of the Northwood Center, which will be the future headquarters of the Tallahassee Police Department and other entities. Including a possible arts center.

That’s when the lobbying started.

“If you are here to support the Sheridan Center, please stand up and make your presence known,” Judy Sheridan told the audience at City Hall.

Much of the crowd behind Sheridan stood up and wore or held up ruby ​​red shirts that read, “Support Center for the Arts now!” Which concluded a creative virtual presentation led by the Council for Culture and the Arts, also known as COCA, as city commissioners moved forward on the proposal.

Sheridan, who is the director of the Michael H. Sheridan and Judy W. Sheridan Center for the Arts Foundation, has sought city approval to contribute five acres of land as part of the master plan for the Northwood Center located on Blvd. Martin Luther King. , directly behind the Hooters on North Monroe Street.

The foundation wants to build the Sheridan Center on approximately 20,000 square feet of land that will include three main facilities: a large 450-seat auditorium that will be used for both music and theater, a black box theater that will seat approximately 150 seats and a flexible function room with a catering kitchen for rehearsals, banquets, receptions or other performances.

Sheridan said her hope for the center was that it would be accessible to other local arts programs in need of performing arts space.

“Now imagine that, all in one place, centrally located for use by nonprofits in Tallahassee with adequate parking to allow use of all three sites at once,” she said. declared to the city commissioners. “I think you would all agree that nonprofits need, and Tallahassee wants this center, and you have the power to make it happen now.”

Donna Cotterell, Founder and President of Indaba Theater as well as a supporter of the proposed Sheridan Center, spoke about the importance of two things: diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and accessibility.

“Where is our performing arts center, our cultural center, our heritage center to uplift people like me,” she asked the commissioners. “If we want to be a great capital, we have to celebrate the diversity of our city.”

Mayor John Dailey said he supports the proposal for a performing arts center and believes it will have a positive impact on the community.

“It is the proverbial boulder that is thrown into the lake that will cause a ripple effect that will have a positive impact on everything,” he told the commissioners.

Details of the performing arts space have yet to be finalized as this was the first of many meetings held on behalf of the Northwood Center planning project, Dailey said.

William E. Bennett