The Woodward Opera House Theater
The Woodward Opera House Theater and Arts Complex will feature a fully operational and fully equipped 500 seat theater, a 1000 sf recital and multi purpose room, and all of the necessary theater equipment, dressing rooms, and theater operations space necessary for a first class arts operation. Conference, meeting, and banquet room space will be a natural result of the construction of the facility, all available for the full utilization of the community.
The Arts Center for Knox County
The overall arts operations of the facility will be managed by the Knox Partnership for Arts & Culture - KPAC. This group will become an arts council serving the Knox County area. The offices for the KPAC will be in the non-profit office center on the second floor of the Woodward annex building. The KPAC Board of Trustees will be responsible for scheduling all of the resident arts groups into the various parts of the facility, establishing and initiating a complete and an exciting arts programming experience for the community, and planning for the long term arts development for the county.
Downtown retail, office, and food service cluster
The core financial model depends on a steady income. The Woodward complex is currently occupied on the first floor with retail and office tenants in space totaling 11,000 sf. When the overall project is complete, there will be over 25,000 sf of leasable space for as many as 29 tenants in the facility. The rental income from this part of the project will be sufficient to operate and maintain the Woodward complex in perpetuity.
Non-Profit Office Center
A portion of the second floor is being reserved as a space for not-for-profit (nfp) entities to cluster and share expenses. This will not only be a financial benefit to the nfps, but will also bring the groups together to correlate their collective efforts in the social and economic development of Mount Vernon and Knox County.
A Place to Enhance the Education of our Children
The facility will host numerous educational programs and events aimed at edifying and educating the school age youth in our community. The primary thrust of these events will be managed by the KPAC, in cooperation with all of the area schools and arts organizations already utilizing the new playhouse in the facility – ThePlace@TheWoodward.
History, Arts, and Culture Museum
A portion of the project will include an area for an Art Museum. The focus will be local art history, with an emphasis on the performing arts. The original dressing rooms, as well as other historic arts areas, will be restored to their 19th century look and be appropriately equipped to feature that era.
Destination for Tours in History, Arts, and Culture
The Woodward Opera House is America’s oldest authentic 19th century theater. It is the Historic Epicenter of Mount Vernon and Knox County, a place where all historic tours may begin for the community. There is only one other theater in the United States that is older, however, nothing original remains on the interior of the Walnut Theater in Philadelphia. This makes the Woodward one of the most historic theaters in the country, and the most “authentic” of its kind. It has already become a destination for many various groups, even out of town motor coach groups. In the 2005-2006 period, over 8,000 visitors crossed the threshold into the theater. Once completely restored and fully accessible, many thousands more will visit the theater.
The preservation of the Woodward building and the accompanying theater will be a social and economic benefit to the community. In addition, both the Woodward Development Corporation (the facility owner) and the Knox Partnership for Arts & Culture are both not-for-profit foundations [IRS designation 501 (c)(3)]. As the project reaches maturity, any funds not needed for the operation, maintenance, and preservation of the facility will be used for the promotion and development of the art in Mount Vernon and Knox County. This combination creates a physical and cultural endowment to assure the preservation not only of the Woodward, but the arts in our community.