Arts center design dazzles

Sunday, May 19, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City's performing arts center is still in the design stage, but already being likened to Australia's famous Sydney Opera House.

The design by architect Moshe Safdie won praise from 120 civic, business and arts leaders who were invited to the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation on Friday for the unveiling of the plans for the Metropolitan Kansas City Performing Arts Center.

"I think it's a godsend," said Roland Valliere, executive director of the Kansas City Symphony. "This will be absolutely transformational for the arts and the city."

The $304 million center features a 2,200-seat theater/opera house and an 1,800-seat orchestra hall. A 500-seat multipurpose "experimental theater" remains part of a future phase of development and fund raising.

A new school and studios for the Kansas City Ballet will be the first buildings on the site. Neither the third theater nor the ballet building are included in the $304 million total. The ballet is raising separate funds for its building.

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